News Briefs – July 1, 2016

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Russian defense minister promises response to NATO’s buildup

Russia’s defense minister says the military will respond in kind to NATO’s buildup near Russian borders.
Sergei Shoigu said June 29 the deployment of additional NATO units and weapons in Eastern Europe “has undermined strategic stability.” He voiced concern that NATO’s activities near Russia’s borders could expand further following the alliance’s summit in July.
Shoigu said that NATO’s moves have prompted Russia to take countermeasures, adding that Russia’s western military district will receive 2,000 new weapons units this year. He noted that as part of the response to NATO’s buildup, Russia’s Baltic Fleet has received new ships and other weapons and the military has formed a new army corps to support it.
NATO has rotated weapons and troops to reassure its eastern members amid tensions with Russia over the Ukrainian crisis. AP
 

U.S. gives Iraq $2.7 billion credit to buy military equipment

The United States has extended a $2.7-billion credit facility to Iraq for the purchase of military equipment amid the ongoing fight against the Islamic State group.
The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said June 29 that the deal gives Iraq a one-year grace period and eight and a half years total to pay for its purchases of ammunition and maintenance of its F-16s and M1A1 tanks.
Like other oil-reliant countries, Iraq’s economy has been severely hit by plummeting crude prices since 2014, plunging the nation into an acute financial crisis. The OPEC member is struggling to feed a cash-strapped economy amid an expensive fight against IS militants, who still control key areas in the country’s north and west. AP
 

Vietnam recovers 8 bodies from missing search plane

Vietnam’s military says the bodies of eight crew from a search plane that crashed two weeks ago while looking for a missing fighter jet have been recovered.
The Ministry of Defense said June 29 that authorities are still searching for the remaining military person from the plane.
The ministry said that maritime patrol aircraft’s black boxes, which recorded voice in the cabin and flight data, have been recovered and are being analyzed to try to determine the cause of the crash.
The Airbus-manufactured Casa-212 aircraft crashed near Bach Long Vi island in the Gulf of Tonkin on June 16 while searching for a fighter jet that went down two days earlier on a training flight.
The two crashes are the latest in a string of accidents involving the Vietnamese military. AP

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