JAPAN CLAIMS RUSSIAN TU-22S VIOLATED ITS AIR SPACE

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JAPAN CLAIMS RUSSIAN TU-22S VIOLATED ITS AIR SPACE

Izvestia, February 15, 2001, p. 2

As the Directorate of Defense in Tokyo officially announced, at 5:59 a.m. Moscow time on February 14 two TU-22 bombers known as Backfires escorted by two unidentified aircraft entered Japanese airspace in the Laperuz Strait near the island of Rebun and spent about three minutes there. At 8:36 a.m. Moscow time the same TU-22s spent three more minutes above Japanese waters. At the same time, a SU-24 was seen racing along the border.

Somehow relaxed in the post-Cold War years, the Japanese grew jittery and had 19 fighters and early detection aircraft take off from all their bases in northern Japan. Tokyo says that the Japanese aircraft hailed the intruders in English and Russian requesting that they leave the area.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry immediately summoned Russian Ambassador Alexander Panov, protested bitterly, and demanded an explanation. Panov promised to give his answer later when he would have all the relevant information.

The Russian military is much more categorical. Defense Minister Igor Sergeev repeated after Air Force Commander-in-Chief Anatoly Kornukov that Russian aircraft had never crossed the borders.

ON RUSSIAN-INDIAN MILITARY-TECHNICAL AND HUMANITARIAN COOPERATION

Izvestia, February 15, 2001, p. 2

Deplaning in New Delhi, Klebanov announced that Russia “is prepared to rebuild a village or two in the Indian state of Gujarat” ruined by the recent earthquake. The restoration will be handled by the federal unitary enterprise Rosoboroneksport, Klebanov said. According to some estimates, the project will cost at least $0.5 billion.

Klebanov also said that Russian-Indian negotiations over humanitarian aid to the regions ravaged by the natural calamity were underway. It is clear, however, that the humanitarian problems were secondary.

The Hindustan Times reports that in light of the accord, Moscow will deliver 124 assembled tanks to New Delhi and the remaining ones will be assembled in India. The contract specifies manufacture of the T-90S under license in the state of Tamilnad where Russian T-72 are already manufactured.

Sources in the Russian government say that Klebanov and Defense Minister George Fernandes will also discuss the date of delivery of SU fighters to India.

GORBACHEV MAKES A STATEMENT

Izvestia, February 15, 2001, p. 4

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev is confident that in his annual address to the Federal Assembly President Putin will surely the goals Russia and its leadership are facing.

In his speech at a conference on Russian-American relations and cooperation in Moscow on Wednesday, Gorbachev was quoted as saying: “What Putin is going to do now is a key question. I think that during his first year in office Putin came to understand Russia and realized what was really in store for him.” Commenting on Russian-American relations as such, Gorbachev said that they had deteriorated some of late. “We feared a growth of anti-American sentiments in Russia but the latest opinion polls show that this has not happened.”

Gorbachev criticized CIA Director George Tenet who put Russia on the list of countries posing a potential threat to the United States. “I’d dismiss him if he really thinks so,” Gorbachev said.

WHAT IVANOV WILL DISCUSS WITH POWELL IN CAIRO

Izvestia, February 15, 2001, p. 7

The other day presidential national security advisor Condoleezza Rice told The Forbes that “Russia poses a danger to the West as a whole and to our European partners in particular. We worry that Russian nuclear technologies may find their way to other countries.”

Ivanov promised to find out in Cairo “exactly what has been worrying Rice”. Richard Boucher of the US State Department denies that these words were said at all; while Mary Ellen Countryman, press secretary of the US National Security Council, claims that the quote was taken out of context and that Rice had in fact been talking about the danger of leakage of nuclear materials from post-Soviet countries.

It seems that the US Administration does not consider relations with Russia a priority. “Russia is important but I cannot say that we are going to pay more attention to it than to any other country,” Boucher said. Analysts say that the team of the new US president is thoroughly pragmatic.

In Cairo, Ivanov is going to try to get some specifics from Powell in the matter of the national missile defense system. As for Powell himself, he intends to present a concept of national missile defense and try to persuade Russia that the system is needed to protect the United States from different countries entirely – Iraq, Iran, and North Korea.

DEMOGRAPHIC SITUATION: AN UPDATE

Rossiiskaya Gazeta, February 15, 2001, p. 2

The Cabinet will discuss a draft concept of demographic policy at its meeting today.

According to the State Statistics Committee, Russia’s population has decreased by 3.3 million in the last ten years, amounting to 144.9 million by the start of 2001.

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