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WORLDBEAT: Russia Daily Brief for Feb 27, 2016

By Cassie Lambert, TSIC Intelligence Specialist

Sources from today’s RDB highlight comments made by US Army Chief of Staff General Mark A. Milley before the Senate naming Russia as “the Number one threat to the United States.” Milley further explained by saying “They are the only country on Earth that has the capability to be an existential threat to the United States. In addition to having the capability, they have also demonstrated aggressive intent, at least since 2008, by invading countries and using national power in ways that are not favorable to U.S. interests.” This is not the first time Russia has been named as the primary threat to US interest. Late last year Milley was also testifying before Congress asserting that Russia was “aggressive” and adversarial to US national security.

Though Washington has not gone as far as Prime Minister Medvedev in calling the current relations between the two a new cold war, US government officials have significantly increased funding for its military units in Europe and ramped up military exercises with NATO allies along Russia’s borders. Putin had previously warned back in 2008 that if he sensed there was an escalation of military readiness on its borders they too would take measures to counter the perceived aggression by the West. Since then both sides view the other as the antagonist offender and justify the tit for tat defensive posturing that has led to the current state of affairs.

Another notable report claims ISIS has “been taking advantage of Russian airstrikes in Syria, using the new found air cover to maneuver and re-position fighters. According to reports ISIS has successfully increased its attacks in Syria despite a loss in territorial control, this is in part due to Russia’s targeting of rebel forces rather than Islamic extremists which Moscow had originally claimed as the reason for the air raids.
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