WASHINGTON, D.C., September 12—In 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.
Written by Yuri Golotyuk and translated into English by Andrei Ryabochkin
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.