News Briefs – August 17, 2016


Separatists, Russians stage exercises again in Moldova

Moldovan separatists say Russian troops have joined their troops in the breakaway republic of Trans-Dniester for joint military exercises for the second time this month.
The official news agency said Aug. 16 that special units took part in anti-terror exercises south of the separatist capital, Tiraspol.
The agency said local residents were warned about the simulations of real-life situations. It did not provide further details.
Moldova criticized the first exercise this month, but had no immediate reaction to the second.
Pro-Russian Trans-Dniester broke away from Moldova in 1990 fearing it would reunite with neighboring Romania. Separatists fought Moldovans in a war in 1992 leaving 1,500 dead.
There are some 1,000 Russian peacekeepers stationed in Trans-Dniester. AP

U.S. Army chief visits China amid missile system tensions

The U.S. Army chief of staff is visiting China amid tensions over American ally South Korea’s decision to deploy a powerful missile defense system.
The Army said Gen. Mark A. Milley was due to meet Aug. 16 with his Chinese counterpart and other senior People’s Liberation Army leaders to find ways to work on cooperation while handling differences.
Milley will also visit the PLA’s Academy of Military Science.
China has objected strenuously to a decision to base the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, system south of the South Korean capital Seoul, believing it’s X-Band radar is intended to track missiles inside China.
Chinese state media have published daily attacks against the U.S. and South Korea, and China has canceled events involving South Korean entertainers. AP

Lockheed Martin hopes to assemble jets in S.C.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham is visiting the Greenville, S.C., area for a ribbon cutting for a new Lockheed Martin production facility.
Graham was scheduled to join other officials Aug. 16 for a ribbon cutting as the company tries to win an Air Force contract to assemble 350 supersonic jets during the next decade.
The Greenville News reports the company plans to start flying two of the new T-50A supersonic aircraft out of its Greenville County facility by early next year.
The company is vying for the Air Force contract said to be worth as much as $12 billion. AP

U.S. tanks join Polish army parade as military ties deepen

American tanks and soldiers have taken part in a yearly military parade in Warsaw, a symbolic show of increased U.S. military involvement in a region shaken by a more assertive Russia.
Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the U.S. Army commander in Europe, said the U.S. participation in Poland’s armed forces national holiday Aug. 15 underlines the increased presence that the U.S. plans in Poland and elsewhere in the region.
“Poland got a look of what they are going to see a lot of in the future — a U.S. army presence that is substantial and is going to be ongoing,” he said.
The Aug. 15 holiday marks Poland’s victory over Russian Bolsheviks in 1920 near Warsaw. AP

Russia conducts naval exercises in Mediterranean near Syria

Russia’s military says it has started exercises in the eastern Mediterranean near Syria to test the navy’s ability to respond to “crisis situations of a terrorist nature.”
The Defense Ministry statement says that in the exercises that began Aug. 15 a naval strike force will fire artillery and missiles in combat-like conditions.
The ministry says among the vessels taking part are two Buyan-M corvettes equipped with long-range cruise missiles of the type used to strike the Islamic State group in Syria last year.
Since intervening in Syria’s civil war in September, Russia has kept warships off Syria’s coast, reviving a Soviet-era practice when Soviet warships maintained a permanent vigil in the Mediterranean. Russia’s naval facility in the Syrian port of Tartus is now the only such facility outside the ex-Soviet Union. AP