Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese today presented an assessment commissioned by his government on whether Australia has the necessary defence capability, posture and readiness to defend itself in the current strategic environment. It argues that Australia needs to increase its defence spending, produce its own munitions and develop the capability to strike longer range targets, as China's military buildup threatens regional security.
The Strategic Defence Review also supports the so-called AUKUS partnership between Australia, the United States and Britain, which in March announced an agreement to create an Australian fleet of eight submarines powered by US nuclear technology.
This review is the most significant in Australia since the Second World War and is comprehensive in scope. "It shows that in a world where the challenges to our national security are constantly evolving, we cannot rely on old assumptions," Mr Albanese said.
The public version of the classified review recommends that the Australian government increase defence spending from its current level of 2% of gross domestic product, improve the capability of the force to operate from Australia's northern bases, and strengthen the defence partnership with key partners in the Indo-Pacific region including India and Japan.
The review states that China's military buildup "is now the largest and most ambitious of any country" since the end of World War II. Moreover, it is "taking place in a manner that is not transparent and does not ensure China's strategic intentions in the Indochina-Pacific region".
The government immediately plans to postpone or scrap the €7.8 billion in investment in the region. The Government is also considering whether to delay, delay or scrap Australian dollars (USD 5.2 billion) in defence spending in order to take account of the new priorities.
Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy said the order for infantry fighting vehicles would be reduced from 450 to 129 to reflect the new priorities. The savings from these vehicles and the scrapping of the second self-propelled howitzer regiment will fund the accelerated rearmament of Australia with the US HIMARS missile system, which has proved its worth in the war in Ukraine.
The maximum range of the army's weapons will be increased from 40 km to more than 300 km, and to more than 500 km with the acquisition of precision strike missiles. "This is designed to give the Australian Army the firepower and mobility it needs in the future to deal with whatever it has to face," Conroy said.
Gone are the days of deterrence, of appealing to the common sense of the potential enemy and the belief that anyone with any sense cares about world peace and security. We are arming and preparing to strike immediately at the teeth of the rapists, looters, destroyers and burners ready to rape, pillage, destroy and burn the illiterates who are, unfortunately, the neighbours of some countries.
There is nothing to be done. The world has changed. Terrorists head the UN Security Council, communists wave the nuclear flag and ayatollahs are ready to declare jihad on anyone who does not kneel five times a day in mosques.
As the Ukrainian military successfully established itself on the eastern side of the Dnieper River, speculation began on Sunday that these achievements could be an early sign of the long-awaited Kyiv Spring offensive. The Washington-based think-tank Institute for the Study of War reported that geolocated footage by pro-Kremlin military bloggers shows that Ukrainian troops have established a foothold near the town of Oleska and have "stable supply lines" to their positions.
Analysts believe that if Ukraine launches a spring counter-offensive, its main objective will be to break through the land corridor between Russia and the annexed Crimean peninsula, which will require crossing the Dnieper river in the south of the country.
Responding to Ukrainian media reports claiming that the establishment of such positions indicates that the counter-offensive has already begun, Natalia Humeniuk, spokeswoman of the Ukrainian Southern Operational Command, called for patience. Neither confirming nor denying the information that had emerged, she merely said that the details of the military operations in the Dnieper Delta could not be disclosed for operational and security reasons.
Foreign special operations forces evacuated diplomats, staff and others from Sudan on Sunday as rival generals fought for a ninth day and there was no sign of a ceasefire, which was declared on the Muslim holy day.
While world powers such as the US and Britain transported their diplomats out of the capital Khartoum, the Sudanese people were desperate to escape the chaos. Many of them risked the dangerous crossing of the northern border with Egypt.
Fighting between the Sudanese armed forces and a powerful paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces left more than 420 people dead, including 264 civilians, and more than 3 700 wounded.
The Baltic States have strongly condemned the comments made by the Chinese envoy to France in a recent interview on French television that the former Soviet republics are not sovereign nations. The foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, in separate statements late on Saturday, described as unacceptable the statements made by Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shaye.
In a recent interview with the French news channel LCI, he was asked whether he believes that the Crimean peninsula belongs to Ukraine. "It belongs... "It depends on how one perceives the issue", the envoy told the broadcaster. "There is a history. Crimea was originally Russian, wasn't it? It was Khrushchev who gave Crimea to Ukraine during the Soviet era."
When the presenter pointed out that Crimea is part of Ukraine under international law, the Chinese ambassador replied: "As far as international law is concerned, even these countries of the former Soviet Union do not have this status - how can I put it? - There is no international agreement that establishes their status as a sovereign country."
On Sunday evening, some 10 000 people marched with torches through the Armenian capital to pay tribute to the estimated 1.5 million Armenians killed in Ottoman Turkey more than a century ago.
The march from the central square to the huge memorial complex began with activists burning Turkish and Azerbaijani flags. Tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan have escalated in recent months following the blockage of a road leading to the ethnic region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which belongs to Azerbaijan.
Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by the Ottoman Turks in the last days of the Ottoman Empire, in what is considered to be the first genocide of the 20th century.
Diana Sosoccae, a Romanian deputy in the Senate, shouted "Glory to Moscow" in a parliamentary session and demanded that "historic Romanian territories" be taken away from Ukraine, and later proposed starting the process of incorporating Moldova into Romania.
The Ukrainian defenders withdrew from the occupied territories in the central part of Bakhmut, crossed over to the western side of the south-western railway tracks and probably lost complete control over the ruins of the town.
A kamikaze drone carrying 17 kg of explosives was shot down in the Moscow area. This occurred in the Bogorodsky district of the city. The police were contacted by a resident who found the drone in a wooded area about 300 metres from her home.
Ukraine has lost about 60 of its 100 fighter jets, according to "secret" Pentagon documents.
Overnight, Sevastopol in Crimea was attacked by ground-based drones. Driska says one drone was destroyed by an anti-submarine warfare unit and another "exploded spontaneously". The video suggests that the "spontaneous explosion" of the drone hit a building possibly occupied by the occupiers.
As the weather in Vilnius warmed up unbelievably, yesterday conscious citizens who respect themselves and others gathered near the flowering sakura trees. Near the White Bridge and a little further on, in a new garden, they enjoyed the rebirth of nature and the sunshine. They walked to the parks, leaving their cars farther away than they could, thinking about pollution, noise, their relatives and neighbours.
The Drisks and the descendants of the Bolsheviks parked their plaid cars right there, trying to get right up to the trees. They were revving their stinking diesel engines, which were dripping with grease, letting boom-pops in at full volume when they opened the door, smoking, spitting and drinking some kind of filthy stuff from their bellies without stopping, Then they urinated on children's wheelbarrows and Japanese cherry trees, broke their branches, tore off their blossoms, and when they tried to be disciplined, they used their three-armed Russian mates to suggest to the young mother of two toddlers that she "pull out her teeth".
The cyclists targeted passers-by and were annoyed that it was difficult for them to pass through a crowd of people that could at least stand out a little. Two teenagers on Bolt scooters were actively trying to provide work for the traumatologists.
It's a good thing tomorrow is a working day, we were glad.
Pictured here is the restless and brief rest of the Ukrainian military in the trenches.
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