By Albert Samaha
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WASHINGTON, D.C., September 12In the minutes after yesterday's attacks on New York City and Washington, it appears that the Russian military went on heightened alert, then later called off "preparations for war," according to the newspaper Vremya Novostei.
The article, contained below, was reprinted by a respected e-mail digest of Russian news, Johnson's Russia List. The digest is created by David Johnson of the Washington-based Center for Defense Information.
NUCLEAR CONFLICT SCENARIO SET ASIDE
Russian military ordered not to prepare for attacking the U.S.
Following the terrorist attacks, Russia has cancelled its aviation exercises in the vicinity of the U.S., Canada, Norway, Britain, and Iceland. But security measures for Russian air space have been boosted, with direct flights over Moscow and St. Petersburg prohibited.
According to our senior source in the Defense Ministry, "the first 30 minutes to one hour" after the terrorist attacks in Washington and New York "were the most dangerous for the world." The U.S. Army responded by putting troops on full alert.
This could not fail to provoke a response: Russia was automatically forced to increase the alert status of the troops responsible for protecting Russian airspace: the air defense and missile-space defense forces, the Air Force and the Navy; additional shifts were urgently summoned to command posts of strategic missile forces. Under current circumstances any provocation, especially on the line where "responsibility areas" of the Russian Army and the U.S. Army with its NATO allies intersect, was fraught with the risk of further uncontrollable escalation of the conflict.
It is hard to judge now at which of these phases the Russian Armed Forces were ordered to stop these "preparations for war" and cease to match the alert status of the Americans. To all appearances, the order was given after the extraordinary Kremlin meeting which President Putin held with security ministers. After the meeting was over, the General Staff canceled sailing orders given to naval underwater and surface forces, and decreased the alert status of the Air Force.
The command center of the Russian Air Force stated that at the request of the U.S., the command had made urgent corrections to the current training exercises of Russian strategic bombers. "Practical actions in the course of the maneuvers have been canceled," reported Colonel Drobyshevskii, press secretary of the Air Force command center. It means that Russian bombers have canceled their flights in the direction of the U.S., Canada, Norway, Britain, and Iceland. At the same time, a number of additional measures of intensifying surveillance over Russia's air space are still in force.
Flights directly over Moscow and St. Petersburg are prohibited (with the exception of special flights); monitoring of foreign airliners passing through international air corridors over Russia is intensified.
According to our sources, the resources of Russia's early missile warning system have been fully activated (usually the radar stations operate at 30 to 50 percent of capacity), as well as those which monitor the U.S. and those which are aimed at the "south missile threat direction" (primarily the Middle East and the Persian Gulf).
The Russian military intelligence service has been ordered "to use all capacities to monitor the events": within days, technical reconnaissance ships must put to sea, while combat crews of the Space Forces are preparing to launch stored monitoring satellites.