WW3 Report 11/18/21 

Previously we noted that despite tiny NATO-member Estonia not actually sharing a border with Belarus, its government ordered snap military drills and the erecting of additional barbed-wire along its border with Russia in a message of solidarity with Poland amid the migrant standoff.  

Fresh EU sanctions on Minsk, coupled with persisting clashes at the Belarus-Poland border, mean that things could easily escalate to a military conflict between the two countries, and into a broader NATO-Russia-Belarus standoff, given Moscow is Lukashenko's closest ally. Alarmingly, on Thursday the Belarusian government cited a noticeable uptick in NATO aircraft activity "along the state border of Belarus".  

Via CNN 

The Belarusian Defense Ministry statement was translated by Russian media sources: "Our radio and radar reconnaissance means registered constant increase in the intensity of flights of reconnaissance and combat aviation of NATO member states along the state border of Belarus, including in the airspace of Ukraine," it said.  

More broadly, the defense ministry connected the heightened activity to a threatening NATO build-up at its border - something which was persistently emphasized during last year's crackdown on anti-Lukashenko protests, for which Minsk was slapped with EU sanctions the first time around (with fresh EU sanctions being readied this week as Lukashenko stands accuses of orchestrating the migrant crisis).  

According to further details of the allegation via TASS:  

The total number of these flights had doubled recently, while flights by US aircraft increased by 50%, the ministry said. Unmanned surveillance aircraft continue to be used a lot, it said. The aircraft fly as close as 15-20 kilometers from the Belarusian border, according to the statement. 

Belarus says the number of NATO flights has "almost doubled" in recent years. "These facts confirm the buildup of military activity near our borders and testify to the further escalation of the situation around Belarus," the defense ministry said.  

Chaotic scenes continue to emerge at border camps made up of mostly Middle Eastern migrants seeking to make their way to Germany or other Western Europe countries: 

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Belarus authorities on Thursday cleared the main camps where migrants had huddled at the border with Poland, in what could potentially be a turning point in a crisis that has spiraled in recent weeks into a major East-West confrontation. European countries have for months accused Belarus of having deliberately created the crisis by flying in migrants from the Middle East and pushing them to attempt to illegally cross its borders illegally into Poland and Lithuania. 

Minsk, backed by Moscow, rejected those accusations in a stand-off that had left thousands of migrants trapped in freezing woods at the border. In a cruel sign of the harsh conditions there, a couple, both injured, told the Polish Centre for International Aid, an NGO, early on Thursday that their one-year-old child had died in the forest. 

At least eight more people are believed to have died at the border in recent months. A spokesperson for the Polish border guards said the camps on the border in western Belarus were completely empty, which a Belarusian press officer confirmed. Belarus state news agency Belta said the migrants had been brought to a warehouse in Belarus away from the frontier. “These camps are now empty, the migrants have been taken most likely to the transport-logistics, center which is not far from the Bruzgi border crossing,” the Polish spokesperson said. 

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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Wednesday warned that rising prices for housing and food were affecting the readiness of U.S. armed forces. 

Inflation has emerged as one of the biggest issues facing the Biden administration, as ordinary Americans complain about the price of everyday items — from gas to bread.  

During a Pentagon briefing, Austin said he was temporarily increasing payments to help troops pay for off-base housing in places where rents had increased by 10 percent or more.  

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Taiwan reportedly deployed advanced fighter jets on Thursday in a show of strength and cooperation with the U.S. amid rising tensions with China, which claims sovereignty over the democratically run island.  

Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, showed off the 64 upgraded F‑16V fighter jets at an air force base in Chiayi, The Associated Press reported. 

The news service noted that the fourth-generation fighter jets have the ability to track 20 targets at a time and use advanced weaponry, adding that the U.S., China and Russia possess fifth-generation aircraft.  

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China‘s military now is capable of a full-scale invasion of Taiwan and has added new missiles and amphibious ships to the People’s Liberation Army for an attack on the island democracy, according to the latest annual report of a congressional China commission. 

Additionally, the standoff between China and Taiwan has become unstable because the ability of the U.S. military to deter a Chinese attack is now in a period of “dangerous uncertainty,” the report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission concluded. 

China, which insists Taiwan is part of its sovereign territory, also has rapidly increased the number of intermediate-range missiles targeting the self-governing island state from 30 to 200 over the past several years. New amphibious ships have been added to the Chinese navy and civilian vessels are being prepared to move troops across the 100-mile-waterway in a potential future invasion. 

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The PLA [People's Liberation Army] has already achieved the capabilities needed to conduct an air and naval blockade, cyberattacks, and missile strikes against Taiwan,' according to a report from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a congressionally-appointed agency designated to provide national security and economic advice to Congress and the president. PLA leaders now likely assess they have, or will soon have, the initial capability needed to conduct a high-risk invasion of Taiwan if ordered to do so by CCP leaders. They will continue enhancing this capability in the coming years.' 

The report found that the PLA's current sea and air lift capacity could launch an initial landing force in Taiwan of at least 25,000 troops.    

'Given these developments, it has become less certain that U.S. conventional military forces alone will continue to deter China's leaders from initiating an attack on Taiwan,' the report found.  

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November 18./TASS/. Attempts by the Ukrainian authorities to resolve the conflict in Donbass by force would be a move towards another disaster, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Channel One on Thursday. 

"NATO weapons are being pumped into Ukraine," he told the TV channel. "All this encourages hotheads to think about trying to solve the Donbass problem through force in conditions when the Minsk agreements are stalled, that is to make one more step towards a new disaster," Peskov said. 

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov called for global unity to prevent a new Russian "escalation" against Ukraine during a visit to the Pentagon on Thursday, as Kiev and Washington warn of what they say is unusual Russian military activity.  The U.S. military has so far stopped short of describing Russia's buildup as a preparation for attack. On Wednesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin conceded that "we're not sure exactly what Mr. Putin is up to."  Reznikov met Austin at the Pentagon and cautioned about the consequences of any Russian military moves. 

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"This possible escalation will certainly have catastrophic consequences for the whole of Europe," Reznikov said, according to a Pentagon transcript of a portion of his remarks.  "Whether it will take place depends to a large extent on the unity and determination of the civilized world to stop the aggression. 

—— 

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III welcomed his Ukrainian counterpart, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, to the Pentagon today reaffirming America's unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. 

  

The leaders discussed a range of security issues, including Russia's destabilizing actions in the region, and they agreed to work closely together to advance the shared priorities outlined in the U.S.-Ukraine Strategic Defense Frameworksigned on Aug. 31. 

  

"[The] framework created a foundation for strengthening our strategic defense partnership," Austin said. "I look forward to discussing how we can implement that framework to continue to advance our shared priority to counter Russian aggression  and to deepen our cooperation in such areas as Black Sea security, cyber defense and intelligence sharing." 

The secretary reiterated the U.S. commitment to building the capacity of Ukraine's forces to more effectively defend its sovereign territory.   

"We are monitoring closely recent Russian military movements on your borders. And we made clear our concerns about Russia's destabilizing activities and our desire for more transparency," Austin said. 

  

To promote regional security, Austin said he will continue to consult with Ukraine, allies and partners in the region on security initiatives. 

Austin also encouraged Reznikov to maintain progress on reforms. 

"We remain committed to supporting Ukraine's efforts to implement deepened comprehensive reforms in its defense sector. We know that's hard work. But doing it is key to Ukraine achieving its Euro-Atlantic aspirations," the secretary said 

—— 

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov called for global unity to prevent a new Russian “escalation” against Ukraine during a visit to the Pentagon on Thursday, as Kiev and Washington warn of what they say is unusual Russian military activity.  

The U.S. military has so far stopped short of describing Russia’s buildup as a preparation for attack. On Wednesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin conceded that “we’re not sure exactly what Mr. Putin is up to.” 

Reznikov met Austin at the Pentagon and cautioned about the consequences of any Russian military moves. 

“This possible escalation will certainly have catastrophic consequences for the whole of Europe,” Reznikov said, according to a Pentagon transcript of a portion of his remarks. 

“Whether it will take place depends to a large extent on the unity and determination of the civilized world to stop the aggression.” 

Austin, who was a four-star Army general when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, told Reznikov the Pentagon was closely monitoring Russian movements on Ukraine’s borders. 

“And we made clear our concerns about Russia’s destabilizing activities and our desire for more transparency,” Austin told him, according to the Pentagon transcript. 

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WW3 Report 11/17/21 

 

🇺🇦Ukraine has said it will deploy another 8,500 troops and 15 helicopters, to guard its border with Belarus, aiming to prevent possible attempts by migrants to breach the frontier.

The United States has warned European allies that Russia could be plotting to invade Ukraine in a repeat of the 2014 annexation of Crimea.

US officials have privately briefed their EU counterparts on a possible military operation as tens of thousands of Russian troops amass near the border

Senior Whitehall sources told The Telegraph that the Government was concerned about the reports and that there was "twitchiness" and "anxiety" among officials.

It came amid heightened tensions, with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, accused of orchestrating a migration crisis on the border between Belarus and Poland to destabilise Europe.

On Thursday, the Kremlin claimed it had scrambled a fighter jet to intercept a British spy plane operating in the Black Sea region.

Russian forces, including elite units, are gathering near the Ukraine border, with some deployed covertly at night. The invasion assessments are believed to be based on US intelligence not yet shared with Europe, multiple sources told Bloomberg

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Defense official reportedly says, if the Oklahoma National Guard doesn't comply with COVID vaccine requirements, they will no longer be "maintaining national recognition," thus, state will no longer have a Nat Guard, but rather a militia - VOA's Pentagon correspondent.

Defense official says if the Oklahoma National Guard doesn’t comply with COVID vaccine requirements, they will no longer be “maintaining national recognition,” thus, state will no longer have a National Guard, but rather a state militia – VOA Pentagon correspondent.

 

Just 4 days after Oklahoma changed Vaccine policy for the National Guard.

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OSHA announces it will comply with the 5th Circuit's court order. The agency says it has suspended implementation and enforcement of its vaccine mandate.

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The U.S. Navy has begun the process of separating sailors who missed the Sunday, November 14 deadline to get their second COVID-19 vaccine shot. The Navy also announced service members who have applied for but are denied vaccine exemptions will have just five days to begin the vaccination process before the Navy begins the separation process.

On Monday, the service issued a naval administrative (NAVADMIN) messagereiterating that active-duty sailors have until November 28 to meet the vaccination requirement. In order to meet that deadline, sailors had to get their second shot by Sunday to leave enough time for the two-week period before they’re considered fully vaccinated. Reserve sailors have until December 28 to be fully vaccinated.

 

The Monday NAVADMIN message states, “In order to ensure a fully vaccinated force, U.S. Navy policy is to process for separation all Navy service members who refuse the lawful order to receive the COVID-19 vaccination and do not have an approved exemption.”

The NAVADMIN does acknowledge some vaccine exemption requests, for both religious and medical reasons, are still pending. The NAVADMIN states that if an exemption is granted, sailors “shall not be processed for separation,” however, sailors who are denied their exemption must begin the vaccine process within five days of being notified their exemption request was denied.

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Vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General John Hyten has warned that Communist China could launch a surprise attack on the U.S. with their hypersonic space weapons.Hyten noted that China's hypersonic weapons test sent a missile around the world at more than five times the speed of sound.Hyten told CBS news:"They launched a long-range missile. "It went around the world, dropped off a hypersonic glide vehicle that glided all the way back to China, that impacted a target in China."

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The People's Liberation Army, China's name for its military, is capable of landing at least 25,000 troops on the island nation to establish an initial beachhead, according to the newly released annual report from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a congressionally appointed agency designed to provide specific and nonpartisan national security and economic advice to Congress and the president. 

"They're giving all the signs this is an option they're considering to be viable," former Republican Sen. Jim Talent of Missouri, now a member of the commission, told reporters Wednesday morning following the release of this year's report. 

Further complicating existing U.S. efforts to deter China from seizing control of Taiwan by force are new tactics the PLA has employed that offset some of the U.S. military's potency in the region. The report documents that the Chinese military has trained with barges, ferries and other civilian vessels to transport military troops across the Taiwan Straits or elsewhere – in addition to more conventional military transports.

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  Israel will continue to confront Iran on all fronts, including Lebanon and Syria, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz warned yesterday.  "We have been seeing Iran's policies in terms of its nuclear programme and its armaments outside the country," said Gantz, "as well as its influence in Syria and Lebanon." He made his comments while visiting an army base with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.  The Israeli official called on governments "to act against Iran" and stressed that his country is "prepared to do what is needed on all of these fronts and on the northern front in particular."  Gantz's comments come amid a planned resumption of negotiations on reviving the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in Vienna later this month.  Israel has described the 2015 Iran nuclear deal as "insufficient to deter Iran's ambitions to develop nuclear weapons." It has also said that it would prevent what it called the "Iranian military entrenchment in Syria and Lebanon." He added it also got 'close enough' to hitting its intended target. 

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November 17./TASS/. A war for Crimea in the heads of Ukrainian politicians remains within the bounds of empty resolutions, since Kiev knows that hostile actions will be regarded as an attack against Russia, Russia's deputy ambassador to the UN Gennady Kuzmin told the United Nation’s General Assembly Third Committee on Wednesday. The committee was looking into a draft resolution on human rights in Crimea and Sevastopol put forward by Ukraine.

"It is simply impossible to seriously discuss the situation with human rights in Crimea based on this document. A heady brew of fantastic tales and thriller," the diplomat pointed out. "Meanwhile, life itself confirms the rightness of the Crimean people, who almost unanimously spoke in favor of the reunification with Russia in 2014," he said. "Unlike in today’s Ukraine, residential neighborhoods are not being shelled in Crimea, people are not being burned alive, journalists are not killed, no Nazi marches are held and the native language is not prohibited," Kuzmin stressed.

He said that as part of Ukraine, the residents of Crimea were doomed to "death, destruction and humiliation". "And thank God, the war for Crimea in the minds of Ukrainian politicians remains within the bounds of empty resolutions. Since an attack against Crimea is an attack against the Russian Federation. Ukraine knows this. And you know," the deputy ambassador stressed.

After the Western-backed coup of February 2014 in Ukraine, Crimea and Sevastopol held a referendum, in which 96.7% of all Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deal on March 18, 2014, which the Federation Council (upper house of the Russian parliament) ratified on March 21, 2014. Despite the convincing results of the referendum, Kiev refused to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.

——

 

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman has termed Poland's appeal to Nato for involvement in solving the migration crisis on its border with Belarus as "provocative and extremely dangerous".

Poland has been struggling to stem a wave of migrants trying to cross its eastern border from Belarus. EU members accuse the Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko, of instigating the crisis in order to destabilise the bloc.

"When it comes to Poland's appeal to Nato for involvement in solving the crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border, it is generally provocative and extremely dangerous," Maria Zakharova said at a weekly press briefing in Moscow on Wednesday.

Zakharova added that "it may lead to an unnecessary escalation of the situation."

According to Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Poland is using "water cannons, batons and tear gas" against migrants who have come from countries devastated by the West.

She also said that attempts to make Moscow responsible for the migration crisis "are totally groundless."

Polish top officials have said on numerous occasions that the Kremlin is a force behind the crisis.

—-

 

war for Crimea in the heads of Ukrainian politicians remains within the bounds of empty resolutions, since Kiev knows that hostile actions will be regarded as an attack against Russia, Russia's deputy ambassador to the UN Gennady Kuzmin told the United Nation’s General Assembly Third Committee on Wednesday. The committee was looking into a draft resolution on human rights in Crimea and Sevastopol put forward by Ukraine.

"It is simply impossible to seriously discuss the situation with human rights in Crimea based on this document. A heady brew of fantastic tales and thriller," the diplomat pointed out. "Meanwhile, life itself confirms the rightness of the Crimean people, who almost unanimously spoke in favor of the reunification with Russia in 2014," he said. "Unlike in today’s Ukraine, residential neighborhoods are not being shelled in Crimea, people are not being burned alive, journalists are not killed, no Nazi marches are held and the native language is not prohibited," Kuzmin stressed.

He said that as part of Ukraine, the residents of Crimea were doomed to "death, destruction and humiliation". "And thank God, the war for Crimea in the minds of Ukrainian politicians remains within the bounds of empty resolutions. Since an attack against Crimea is an attack against the Russian Federation. Ukraine knows this. And you know," the deputy ambassador stressed.

—-

 

 

WW3 REPORT 11/16/21 

EU to target airlines, travel agents in Middle East 
Belarus says assertions it engineered crisis are absurd 
Poland says up to 4,000 people stuck on Belarus border 
EU urges Kremlin to press Minsk; Moscow offers to mediate 

BRUSSELS/WARSAW/MOSCOW, Nov 15 (Reuters) - France told Russia on Monday NATO would be prepared to defend the sovereignty of Ukraine, near where NATO says Moscow has been staging a troop buildup, while Western leaders sought to tackle a migrants crisis on the eastern borders of the European Union. 

The European Union agreed to step up sanctions against Belarus over thousands of migrants stranded in freezing forests on its borders with the EU. Belarus, a close Russian ally, said assertions it had fuelled the crisis were "absurd". 

Speaking by telephone to Russian President Vladimir Putin as part of a flurry of conversations between Western leaders and Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, the French leader spoke of his strong concern over the situation on Ukraine's borders. 

"Our willingness to defend Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity was reiterated by the president," an adviser to Macron told reporters of the conversation Macron initiated. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier dismissed as "wrong" a U.S. State Department statement that the Belarus border crisis was meant to distract attention from increased Russian military activity close to Ukraine, another former Soviet republic. 

The EU is seeking to stop what it says is a policy by Belarus to push migrants towards it to avenge earlier sanctions over a crackdown on protests last year against veteran leader Alexander Lukashenko's contested re-election. 

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned Russia on Monday that the western military alliance was standing by Ukraine amid a large and unusual concentration of Russian troops on Ukraine's borders.  

Stressing that the important thing now was to prevent situations from spiralling out of control, Stoltenberg urged Russia to be transparent about military activities, to reduce tensions and prevent an escalation.  

We have to be clear-eyed, we need to be realistic about the challenges we face. And what we see is a significant, large Russian military build-up," Stoltenberg told a news conference with Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Brussels.  

He said he did not want to speculate about Russia's intentions but added: "We see an unusual concentration of troops, and we know that Russia has been willing to use these types of military capabilities before to conduct aggressive actions against Ukraine."  

The Russian troop movements have over the past days spurred fears of a possible attack. Moscow has dismissed such suggestions as inflammatory and complained https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/russia-is-not-threat-says-kremlin-after-media-report-about-possible-ukraine-2021-11-12 about increasing activity in the region by the NATO transatlantic alliance.  

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and says the waters around it belong to Moscow now, despite most countries continuing to recognise the peninsula as Ukrainian.  

Russian-backed separatists took control of Ukraine's eastern Donbass region that same year and soldiers on both sides continue to be regularly killed in the conflict there.  

The troop border build-up - which Ukraine last week estimated at 100,000 - was dangerous, said Stoltenberg, because it reduced the amount of warning time, should Russia decide to "conduct a military aggressive action against Ukraine."  

"This is partly forces close to the border between Russia and Ukraine, but it is also partly troops and capabilities which are inside Ukraine, meaning they are in Crimea, which is illegally annexed, and also we see the militants, the separatists in Donbass, which is also part of Ukraine, supported and helped by Russia," he said.  

A NATO source, asked to describe how Russia is going about deploying its military equipment towards Ukraine, said: "large equipment such as tanks, self-propelled artillery and infantry fighting vehicles is moved at night to avoid tell-tale pictures showing up on social media as they did during the Russian military build-up in spring." 

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In a press briefing on November 10, Pentagon spokesman retired Adm. John Kirby gave further evidence of the Biden administration’s incoherent national strategy. He refused to distinguish between China and “climate change” as threats to U.S. national security. 

In response to a question of “which is a bigger threat, the climate or China?” Kirby said, “You’ve heard the secretary talk about the climate as a — a real and existential national security threat …  And we considered China as the number one pacing challenge for the department. Both are equally important. Both are — are challenges that the secretary wants the senior leadership at the Pentagon to be focused on, as well as many others, too.” 

Kirby’s answer was a bit of a muddle. He first described China as “the number one pacing threat.” But he then immediately added, “Both are equally important.” 

—— 

China claimed Tuesday that President Biden denounced Taiwanese independence from the communist nation, but warned the U.S. is "playing with fire" in the South China Sea. 

The new round of threats arose following an hours-long virtual summit between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping that marked the most extensive talks the world leaders have engaged in since Biden took office. 

In a read-out following the talks, Chinese officials said Biden reiterated U.S. support for the one-China policy and claimed the U.S. president "does not support ‘Taiwan independence’." 

Taiwan and China have shared a complex history since the government of the Republic of China (ROC) relocated to the island in the western Pacific in 1949 amid conflict with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).  

Taiwan identifies as a sovereign nation, but it is officially recognized by China, the United Nations and the U.S. as part of the one-China policy.  

China made it clear Tuesday that it has every intention of bringing the island under "complete reunification" with mainland China and threatened action if forces attempt to stop this. 

"Should the separatist forces for ‘Taiwan independence’ provoke us, force our hands or even cross the red line, we will be compelled to take resolute measures," the readout said. "On this question bearing on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, there is no room for compromise." 

—— 

The Pentagon on Monday said it has the authority to require members of the National Guard to get vaccinated against COVID-19 after the Oklahoma National Guard’s newly appointed commander refused to impose a vaccine mandate ordered by the Defense Department. 

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters that U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin “has the authorities he needs to require this vaccine across the force, including the National Guard.” 

Kirby later added during a news briefing that it is “a lawful order for National Guardsmen to receive the COVID vaccine.” 

“It is a lawful order,” he repeated. “Refusing to do that, absent an approved exemption, puts them in the same potential [for punishment] as active-duty members who refuse the vaccine.” 

The Defense Department in September said that all uniformed personnel must be vaccinated against COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, with varying deadlines for each branch. 

However, on Nov. 11, the adjutant general for Oklahoma Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino wrote in a policy memorandum ordering that “no Oklahoma Guardsmen be required to take the COVID-19 Vaccine.” 

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.@MarineNationale to run large scale exercise #Polaris21 in the W. Mediterranean & Atlantic (Nov 18-Dec 3) Involving half of French fleet & carrier FS Charles de Gaulle. @HMSDragon & elements of #CSG21 (?) likley to participate. —— 

KYIV, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Britain's defence minister Ben Wallace met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on a visit to Kyiv on Tuesday, a show of support at a time when Ukraine and NATO countries have expressed concern about Russian troop movements near Ukraine's borders. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government this week had voiced Britain's "unwavering" support for Ukraine and said it would back Kyiv in the face of Russian hostility while opposing the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. 

In a statement after their meeting, Zelenskiy welcomed a framework agreement to use British financing to enhance Ukraine's naval capabilities, allowing Ukraine to buy missiles, build missile ships and a navy base on the Sea of Azov. 

"The United Kingdom has become our key partner in building the Ukrainian fleet," Zelenskiy said, according to a statement on the presidential website. 

Ukraine and NATO countries have expressed concern about Russian troop movements near Ukraine's borders. Moscow in turn accused Ukraine, the United States and allies of destabilising behaviour, including in the Black Sea. read more  

Britain's most senior military officer, General Nick Carter, said there was a greater risk of an accidental war breaking out between the West and Russia than at any time since the Cold War. 

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Cybersecurity researchers say they have uncovered evidence that Belarus has been involved in a hybrid hacking and disinformation campaign against Eastern European NATO members since 2016 that aimed to sow discord in the military alliance, steal confidential information, and spy on dissidents. 

Today’s report by the prominent US cybersecurity firm Mandiant appears to mark the first time Belarus has been blamed in the campaign known as Ghostwriter. European Union members have said they suspected involvement by Belarus’ close ally Russia, and Poland has directly accused Moscow of hacking government officials’ emails and leaking them online. 

While Mandiant says it has compelling forensic evidence that Belarus was involved in the hacking — whose targets have also included German lawmakers — it says it has no direct proof of Russian participation, though that does not rule it out and attributing cyberoperations can be difficult. 

The Belarus government did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A press officer at the Russian embassy in Washington had no immediate comment on alleged Russian involvement in Ghostwriter. Russian officials regularly reject accusations that they are involved in hacking and disinformation activity. 

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Russia said on Tuesday it had conducted a weapons test that targeted an old Russian satellite with "razor-sharp precision" and denied allegations by the United States, Britain and NATO that the test had been dangerous for orbiting spacecraft. 

U.S. officials said Monday's test had generated a debris field in low-Earth orbit that endangered the International Space Station (ISS) and that would pose a hazard to space activities for years. read more  

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the test was reckless, posed a threat to the ISS and an orbiting Chinese spacecraft, and showed Russia was developing new weapons systems. A British government spokesperson condemned the test and urged Moscow to join discussions at the United Nations on "responsible behaviour when it comes to space."  

Russia's Defence Ministry said the debris from the test had not posed a threat to the ISS, and that Washington knew this. 

"We did indeed successfully test a promising system. It hit the old satellite with razor-sharp precision. The fragments that formed pose no threat to space activity," Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu was quoted as saying by the RIA news agency. 

The target was a non-operational spacecraft, Tselina-D, that had been in orbit since 1982, the ministry said in a statement. 

It said the United States, China and India had conducted similar tests in the past. 

Russia's space agency said the ISS's crew had temporarily to moved into their respective spacecraft. 

The Defence Ministry said Russia was forced to beef up its defence capabilities because of weapons tests by the United States and Washington establishing a space force in 2020. 

Moscow said it had sought an agreement to stop weapons being deployed in space for years, but that Washington and its allies had blocked the deal at the United Nations. 

Reporting by Polina Devitt in Moscow, Sabine Siebold and Robin Emmott in Brussels, Idrees Ali and Steve Gorman in Washington, and Kate Holton in London; writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Catherine Evans and Timothy Heritage 

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Nov 15, aerospace controllers at 22 Wg and CF18s from Canadian NORAD Region exercised with 

@US_Stratcom 

B1 aircraft on their return from Europe to the . CF18s conducted air intercept training while wishing our #FriendsPartnersAllies a warm welcome home 

@NORADCommand 

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Satellites, ships in crosshairs: Are Russia, China running circles around US? - analysis 

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN    

Published: NOVEMBER 16, 2021 09:37 

Updated: NOVEMBER 16, 2021 16:21 

Washington is nonplussed that Russia has conducted what the US calls a “dangerous and irresponsible” missile test. It targeted one of Russia’s own satellites as part of an apparent anti-satellite missile system. The US says that the test endangered the crew of the International Space Station (ISS). 

Meanwhile, H.I. Sutton at USNI News noted that “a second suspected missile target in the shape of a US aircraft carrier has been spotted in a remote Chinese desert, according to satellite photos.” The carrier looks to be a target for missiles. “Carrier target is about 300 miles away from a larger suspected missile range in the Taklamakan Desert,” first reported by USNI News on Sunday. “The two sites share similar characteristics and are aligned on a map with the carriers facing the same direction – as if in a convoy. Like the first, this new target shares the same dimensions as a US Navy aircraft carrier,” the report notes.   

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China is also building new aircraft carriers, one of which may be launched as early as next year. The US appears to be reacting every week to new reports about these kinds of threats, whether it is hypersonic missilesor “carrier destroying” missiles, or threats to space and America’s global role.   

There are other threats as well. The US and Western allies are talking about defending Ukraine against Russia. They are also embroiled in a potential clash with Belarus. At the same time US President Joe Biden is warning China not to take action against Taiwan.   

The list of crises is growing and the US has signaled that it wants to move from 20 years of the global war on terror to face down “near-peer” adversaries like Russia and China. But Russia and China have watched the US withdraw from Afghanistan and be pushed around again and again in other places. Turkey, for instance, got the US to withdraw from part of Syria and even attacked its partners on the ground and the US has stayed silent. 

Can Washington simultaneously deal with all these emerging problems? It appears to have been surprised by the Chinese hypersonic missile gains. The stories about China using mock US ships for target practice and Russia destroying a satellite all seem to be potential new challenges to the US. 

While America has the most sophisticated military technology, such as F-35s, it is generally slow at procurement and has rested on its laurels for years. There are new weapons in the pipeline and the US wants to invest in its navy but at air shows like Dubai it tends to be countries like Russia that steal the spotlight, most recently with their new “Checkmate” warplane. Whether those planes are actually as good as the designers say is unclear but what matters sometimes is perception and the perception is that the US is being challenged everywhere. 

—— 

Secretary of State for Defence, the Right Honourable Ben Wallace MP and Ukraine Defence Minister Oleksii Yuriyovych Reznikov said: 

Ukraine and the United Kingdom are strategic partners in security and defence. 

Last week, an Intergovernmental Framework Agreement was signed in London. This document continues progress on joint projects to develop the capabilities of the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as agreed in June when the UK, Ukraine and industry signed a Memorandum of Implementation to collaborate to boost Ukraine’s naval capabilities. 

Today’s meeting is the next stage in bilateral cooperation for enhancing Ukraine’s defence capabilities and increasing interoperability. 

Our governments have no desire to be adversarial, or seek in any way to strategically encircle or undermine the Russian Federation. We are concerned by Russia’s military build-up and activity around the borders of Ukraine. 

Ukraine’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity is indisputable. 

The United Kingdom stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ukraine and will continue its long-standing determination to support them. 

We are unwavering in that support and together we remain vigilant and united in the defence of our common values and freedoms. 

—— 

While Russia continues to claim that nothing is out of the ordinary, Ukraine is calling on its allies for support and protection. 

"The best way to deter an aggressive Russia is to make it clear for the Kremlin that Ukraine is strong, but also that it has strong allies who will not leave it alone in the face of Moscow's ever-increasing aggressiveness," Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said last Wednesday in a joint conference with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. 

In Ukraine, a nation of 44 million people whose military is still rebuilding from years of violent conflict, many have accused Russia of continually using tactics like these to intimidate and frighten. A recent visit by President Vladimir Putin to the occupied region of Crimiea only inflamed local anxieties. 

——

Religious Exemption Copy Paste 

Good luck 

Background/context: 

To begin, a simple fact - when seeking / discussing / considering any legal advice... CYA... as in C Your Attorney! 

With that said, I have researched the topic of employer mandated vaccines thoroughly, and have arrived at what I believe is not only THE BEST OUT, but THE ONLY OUT 

While US Law allows the various states a lot of autonomy with their specific state level employment laws, there are special federal statutes that encompass ALL employers in the US, regardless of state of incorporation, principle place of business etc. 

The ones we NEED BE MOST aware of relate to statutes overseen by the EEOC. 

In the most basic summary these laws specifically prohibit ANY and ALL discrimination based on several protected classes including RELIGION. 

These laws trump "right to work state laws" or "at will employment" laws. 

The reason employers can and will be firing people who do not comply is because those employees refusing are doing it IN THE WRONG WAY! 

Now, can an employer still fire you after sending this letter? Sure? Will they look for reasons to fire you after you send this that may be unrelated to your vaccine status (such as nitpicking work, or makin up conduct violations)? Sure. 

BUT 

They will KNOW that this letter exists and ANY employment lawyer is going to love you. These are the kinds of cases that have a chance and employers know it. Peace and blessings. 

 

  

 

  

 

Phone: 

Email: 

Dear

I am writing you to make you aware that I hold a specific religious belief that prevents me from taking a Covid Vaccine. Per United States Federal Labor and Employment Law, my religious beliefs cannot be used as grounds for any termination / retaliation / discrimination. Additionally, I am under no obligation to be specific with you of these beliefs, to enumerate them, or be asked or required to defend them. 

Please be advised that vaccinations (and certain other medical procedures/applications) violate my deeply held religious convictions.  

Accordingly, I am exercising my federally protected rights under 42 USC § 2000e–2(a)(et seq) which read as follows: 

Unlawful employment practices 

(a) Employer practices 

It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer— 

(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; or 

(2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. 

Therefore, please place this letter in my appropriate HR file as a substitute for any such "proof of vaccine" or "certificate of vaccine" that you may need. 

Thank you. 

Signature:_____________________ 

Date: ________________________

5th Circuit 

A federal appeals court on Saturday blocked the Biden administration’s private employer COVID-19 vaccine mandate, asserting there may be constitutional issues with the requirement. 

“Because the petitions give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the mandate, the mandate is hereby STAYED pending further action by this court,” a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit said in the brief order. 

The halt of the mandate, which was unveiled this week, is temporary as the case moves forward. 

The case was brought by multiple businesses, including the American Family Association; multiple individuals; and several states, including Texas, Utah, and Mississippi. 

Petitioners said the mandate, promulgated as an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), should be struck down because it exceeds OSHA’s authority under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. 

They said that the authority is limited to workplace-related hazards while the risk from COVID-19 is “a society-wide danger.” They also said the mandate doesn’t make sense because determining whether COVID-19 is a workplace hazard depends on employees’ age and health, not how many co-workers they have. 

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“In an attempt to impose a nationwide vaccination mandate without approval from Congress, the executive branch has couched its COVID-19 vaccine mandate as an emergency workplace rule affecting nearly 100 million Americans. But the ETS is neither a workplace rule nor responsive to an emergency,” lawyers for the petitioners wrote in an emergency motion asking the court to impose a stay. 

—— 

In a ruling on Saturday, a three judge panel at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay sought by Texas, Utah, Mississippi and South Carolina, as well as businesses who claimed they would be negatively impacted. 

"Because the petitions give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate, the Mandate is hereby STAYED pending further action by this court," the judges wrote, ordering lawyers for the states and the federal government to submit further briefing by next week. 

The rule was not going into effect until January. 

Utah political leaders have argued the government using OSHA rules to mandate vaccinations is unconstitutional. Governor Spencer Cox told FOX 13 earlier this week Utah would sue over it. 

"I am grateful our courts recognize the egregious overreach from the Biden administration into the personal health decisions of citizens and that businesses won’t be forced to enforce this unconstitutional rule," House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, said to FOX 13 in a text message. 

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