Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says instead of selling missiles to Syria, Russia should work with the U.S. to prevent the Syrian Civil War from erupting into a wider, regional war. – The Pentagon Channel
The scope of this is unusual to say the least:
Ten individuals have been arrested in the United States on charges of being Russian agents, the Justice Department announced Monday.
The 10 were “trained Russian intelligence operatives,” a Justice Department spokesman said.
All were charged with acting as agents of a foreign government, and nine also were charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering.
I can’t remember the last time we rolled up this many deep-cover agents at the same time. I wonder how the Russians will retaliate?
You can read the Justice Department’s criminal complaints here.
This AP article mentions a bit of tradecraft involving laptops and wireless connections. Interesting but not very surprising given the advantages offered and relative ease in making the connection and transfer.
At least 35 are dead:
Female suicide bombers detonated explosions that rocked two subway stations in central Moscow during rush hour on Monday morning, killing at least 35 people, officials said.
“It was a terrorist act carried out by the female suicide bombers,” said Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, citing Russia’s intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service. “They were specifically timed — for … the train was nearing the station — to make the most damage.
“The blast was caused by 300 to 400 grams of explosives,” he said.
A Web site associated with Chechen separatists claimed responsibility for the attacks. Chechnya is located in an area of Russia known as the North Caucasus, located between the Black and Caspian Seas.
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The New York Times has photos.
I’m continuing to see hopeful signs of life from NATO and Rice:
NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said on Tuesday that the Russians are not now honoring the terms.
“There can be no business as usual with Russia under the present circumstances,” Scheffer said.
The announcement came after foreign ministers from NATO member nations gathered in Belgium for an emergency meeting over the crisis between Russia and Georgia which also involved U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Hopes of resolving the conflict had been boosted when on Tuesday Georgia and Russia exchanged soldiers who had been captured during the fighting, then Russia agreed to a beefed-up monitoring mission for Georgia’s disputed region of South Ossetia.
Russia also began deploying troops from the strategically key Georgian city of Gori, The Associated Press reported.
Rice arrived at NATO headquarters on Tuesday a day after saying that Moscow was playing “a dangerous game” by re-asserting its power across the border.
NATO ministers were expected to discuss what the alliance can do to support Georgia and “deny Russia’s strategic objectives,” Rice said.
NATO’s internal debate, which centers around the level of diplomatic contact with Russia, is relatively modest:
Washington called on Nato nations to consider at least suspending ministerial meetings with Russia, but Britain and others said it would be counter-productive to cut channels of communication with Moscow now.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who attended the meeting, is flying to Georgia to voice support to Tbilisi.
Before leaving he told Sky News: “Russia wants to be a respected international player and it can only be so if it lives up to its international commitments.
“I think it’s important that we don’t pursue a policy of trying to isolate Russia. What we need is hard-headed engagement. But we will make sure it’s not business as usual.”
The possibility of Georgian membership in NATO won’t be officially discussed until December:
Membership Action Plan (MAP) status for Georgia and Ukraine is due to be reviewed at a December meeting.
“I don’t expect that we will — and nor have we sought to — accelerate MAP for Georgia,” Rice said.
“We have said that was a matter for December and we will take that up in December.”