India to wake ‘sleeping’ lunar probe

India will attempt to wake the Chandrayaan-3 mission’s lander and rover from hibernation mode this week, two weeks after they successfully landed near the south pole of the Moon.

  • Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) scientists hope to revive the modules on either Thursday or Friday, when the Sun rises at the ‘Shivshakti Point’ – a location near the lunar south pole where Chandrayaan-3 landed in August, the Hindustan Times reports.

Space agency chairman S. Somanath said its scientists are hoping the equipment can be revived to continue collecting more data.

  • The mission objectives have already been completed and the modules were put in hibernation mode from September 2.

The chances of success appear to be slim, however, as it is unlikely that the instruments on the modules survived the extremely low temperatures of the lunar night, which can dip below -200 degrees Celsius at the Moon’s south pole.

The payload also had a mission life of just one lunar day, which is equivalent to around 14 days on Earth.

The modules’ batteries, powered by sunlight, were charged and solar panels were oriented to receive light at dawn.

Indian scientists are hoping that the batteries will have kept the instruments warm enough to survive the night.

  • Spacecraft designed to survive the night on the Moon are usually fitted with some onboard heating mechanism, which is not the case with the Chandrayaan-3.
  • India’s lunar mission, which was launched at a cost of around 6.1 billion rupees ($75 million), has been seen as a major success for the country. On August 23, the Chandrayaan-3 created history by landing near the little-explored south pole of the Moon.

A few days later, it confirmed the presence of sulfur in the region after on-site tests.

On Wednesday, the upper house of India’s parliament unanimously passed a resolution congratulating scientists on the success of the Chandrayaan-3 mission.

  • “India has not only developed the capacity to launch its own satellites,” said Indian Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, “but has also extended its services to launch satellites for other countries, with 424 foreign satellites being launched to date.”
  • Speaking in the parliament, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said “the success of Chandrayaan-3 will have a big impact on India’s industrial and technological ecosystem.”

Close on the heels of the Chandrayaan-3 mission, India has deployed another space mission – the Aditya-L1 – this time, to study the Sun.

Source: RT

Russia’s Alrosa halts rough-diamond sales at India’s request

Russian mining giant Alrosa has placed a temporary suspension on sales of rough diamonds in September and October in a bid to prevent overstocking and avoid a drop in prices amid low demand, the company announced on Wednesday.

The move was taken at the request of India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) following a meeting of leading Indian diamond cutters.

  • “The move to halt rough-diamond allocations reflects Alrosa’s commitment to stabilizing the market’s supply-and-demand balance. With the ongoing trend of declining demand, Alrosa believes that this decision will help prevent overstocking, especially as the industry approaches the Diwali season, when many manufacturers traditionally shut down,” GJEPC said in a press release.

Alrosa’s press service told RBK that it had a “solid and high-quality asset base and a stable financial position,” which will make it possible for the company to weather the suspension without incurring heavy losses.

  • “We expect that this will have a stabilizing effect to support the balance in the market and strengthen the stability of the links in the diamond supply chain by the beginning of next year,” the press service added.

Earlier this month, GJEPC chairman Vipul Shah said the country’s diamond industry was concerned about several problems affecting the gem trade, including declining demand pressures, the impact of lab-grown diamonds, polished inventory and production challenges, economic downturns in the US and China, overall geopolitical instability, and changing consumer preferences.

  • According to Shah, “exploring mechanisms to manage the supply and prices of natural diamonds through collaboration among miners can be instrumental in bringing balance to the market.”

Alrosa’s move does not appear to be connected with the proposed G7 and EU bans on Russian diamond sales.

The measures expected to be announced next month reportedly envisage restrictions on direct and indirect diamond exports from Russia, as well as a tracking mechanism that would facilitate Western states in determining the origin of gems. The measure, if introduced, may see Russian gems processed in India banned from Western markets.

India’s diamantaires had earlier warned that the ban could be disastrous for the entire sector.

  • According to a recent report by the Economic Times, the Indian diamond industry cuts and polishes nine out of every ten diamonds in the world at a processing hub in the city of Surat.

A potential embargo would put at risk Surat’s 4,000 diamond-processing companies, which employ at least one million people.

According to media reports, Indian exports of cut and polished diamonds have already slumped as US and EU firms shun buying diamonds sourced from Russia.

Source: RT

France bets on coal to ensure power supply

France may have to keep its last two coal-fired power plants on standby this winter to guarantee security of electricity supply, its national grid operator RTE announced on Tuesday.

According to RTE’s outlook of upcoming power needs, the country is heading into this winter in a “much” better situation than a year ago. However, growing demand during the country’s long-term energy transition will pressure supply, it warned, adding that in case of a shortage in nuclear-power production or of a lack of renewables, coal plants may have to be on hand.

  • “We’ll need solutions to meet longer imbalances in 2030, given Europe’s decarbonization goals,” said Thomas Veyrenc, RTE’s executive director in charge of strategy. Adding more “flexibilities” such as battery storage and tools to shift demand away from peak hours should be a priority, he stressed.

France generates roughly 70% of its electricity from a stable of 56 nuclear reactors, all operated by state-owned utility EDF.

  • Most of them have faced recurring corrosion issues and were either shut down or are undergoing maintenance, causing a sharp drop in power generation. The country used to be a net power exporter and is now expected to rely heavily on electricity imports from neighboring states to meet winter demand.

Last month, the French government extended permission for power generating companies to burn more coal in order to prevent shortages this winter.

  • At the same time, authorities have tightened requirements for the operation of the plants. Electricity producers will only be allowed to operate for up to 1,800 hours in the coming winter, or about 11 weeks, down from 2,500 hours last winter, the French Ecological Transition Ministry has said.
  • The remaining two coal-fired plants reportedly accounted for just 0.6% of the country’s power output last year. According to Veyrenc, the facilities could ultimately be converted to process biomass or be replaced by smaller units running on biofuels or green hydrogen.

Source: RT

Wagner chief’s grave under 24/7 guard – media

Security measures have been stepped up at the grave of former Wagner private military company chief Evgeny Prigozhin, a cemetery worker has told the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper.

According to a report on Wednesday, a guard post and a CCTV camera have been installed after a violin was stolen from the burial site at the Prokhorovskoe cemetery in St. Petersburg.

  • The instrument is among the symbols of the Wagner Group, whose fighters are nicknamed ‘the Musicians’ due to the name that the PMC shares with classical German composer Richard Wagner.
  • A violin and a sledgehammer – another symbol of the PMC – appeared at Prigozhin’s grave a few days after his burial on August 29, the cemetery worker recalled. However, he claimed that the musical instrument, which he described as looking “pricey,” had been “snatched” the following day.
  • According to the worker, a cyclist was seen “racing away” from the site at the time of the incident, but the perpetrator has not been found.

“After that, a CCTV camera and a guard booth were set up at Prigozhin’s grave,” the employee revealed. “Now there’s a security guard on duty there 24/7.”

The worker said it was his understanding that the measures had been organized by Wagner members, who received approval from the cemetery’s administration.

When asked about the whereabouts of the sledgehammer, the cemetery worker replied that it was still at the grave.

Prigozhin and several other high-ranking Wagner figures were killed in a plane crash in Russia’s Tver Region on August 23. The cause of the incident is being investigated, and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said late last month that a “deliberate atrocity” could not be ruled out.

The Wagner PMC was instrumental in the Russian capture of the strategic city of Artyomovsk (Bakhmut) from Ukrainian forces in May, making Prigozhin a household name.

However, the PMC leader launched a short-lived mutiny against the Russian military in mid-June, after which a deal was reached for him to move to Belarus. Under an agreement with the Kremlin, Wagner fighters avoided prosecution and were provided with a choice of moving to Belarus together with their leader, joining the Russian armed forces, or retiring.

Source: RT

The return of the ‘Bakhmut meat grinder’: How Ukraine fell back into a familiar trap

While Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the direction of Zaporozhye has practically stalled in the past few months, its forces have made some progress on the eastern section of the front. The battle for Artyomovsk (also known as Bakhmut), which began in August 2022, continues despite the fact that Russian troops fully liberated the city in May of this year.

After four months of fruitless attempts by Kiev to counterattack, in September the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) finally entered the ruined villages of Andreevka and Kleshcheyevka, southwest of the infamous ‘Bakhmut meat grinder’. Ukraine needs to gain control over these settlements in order to launch a new offensive on Artyomovsk and rehabilitate its image after a damaging media defeat.

However, it is still too early to talk about a Russian retreat – the fighting in this area continues and Moscow’s forces hold the line of defense along the Artyomovsk-Gorlovka railway line. The outcome of the battle will determine whether Ukraine can avenge its previous failure.

An unfinished story

The AFU’s operation near Artyomovsk began a month before its main counteroffensive. On May 10, while battles were still raging, inside the city, Ukrainian troops attempted to reach its flanks.. The Russian command was concerned that the attack would lift its blockade and disrupt its storming of the city, but on May 20, it came under the full control of Moscow’s forces.

Despite the fact that the Ukrainian authorities never officially admitted the loss of Artyomovsk, the Institute for the Study of War noted, on May 23, that Kiev’s General Staff did not mention the city in its situational report for the first time since December 2022.

At the end of May, during a major redeployment of Russian troops and the replacement of private and volunteer units with regular army units, Ukrainian forces continued their counteroffensive attempts on the flanks of the city, hoping that the new defenders would prove to be a weaker, less resilient enemy than their combat-hardened predecessors.

By the beginning of the summer, the AFU had concentrated powerful forces around Artyomovsk, including its 3rd and 5th Assault Brigades, the 80th Air Assault Brigade, the 22nd and 24th Mechanized Brigades, and the ‘Lyut’ (Rage) Assault Brigade of the National Guard – all on the southern flank of its counteroffensive. The forces accumulated on the northern flank were somewhat weaker and included the 77th Airmobile Brigade, the 57th Motorized Brigade, and the 60th and 92nd Mechanized Brigades.

Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive

On June 7, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Anna Maliar claimed that the AFU had switched from defensive to offensive tactics near Artyomovsk and had occupied up to 1,100 meters in different areas. Similar reports were later repeated, but by the end of the summer, the Ukrainian army had yet to capture a single settlement. The AFU also decided not to attack both flanks of Artyomovsk throughout the summer and instead focused on the southern direction.

  • In the north, Russian troops launched a localized counterattack and regained some of their lost positions.

The situation at this section of the front forced Russia to change its plans in Donbass. Several units of the 150 Motorized Rifle division near Maryinka were transferred to Artyomovsk. This slowed down Moscow’s task of driving the AFU away from Donetsk, which was being shelled almost daily. Other forces, including airborne units and the ‘Espanola’volunteer brigade, largely made up of soccer and ice hockey fans, were also transferred there.

During the summer, the AFU managed to push Russian troops away from their line of defense along the left bank of the Seversky Donets–Donbass canal, significantly expanding the counteroffensive front line. While the AFU had initially only posed a threat to the village of Kleshcheyevka, in July the fighting approached Andreevka and Kurdyumovka.

The battles in this area were almost as fierce as those on the southern front. Russia lost several commanders, including one from the ‘Prizrak’ (Ghost) Battalion – a unit of the Lugansk militia which has been fighting Ukraine since the spring of 2014, and that` was integrated into the Russian army in 2023.

The 4th Brigade of the 2nd Army Corps, which included the ‘Prizrak’ Battalion, was transferred to Artyomovsk in May, when troops were rotated and replaced units from the Wagner private military company. The brigade took over defensive positions near the village of Kleshcheyevka, which at the time was the main focus of the Ukrainian army. Gradually, the AFU managed to occupy several dominant heights around the village, which became something of a ‘gray zone’.

  • By September, the Russian army had built defenses east of the Artyomovsk-Gorlovka railway line. To the west of it, Moscow’s forces controlled the villages of Andreevka and Kleshcheyevka in order to prevent the positioning of Ukrainian troops near the railway line.

The significance of Russia’s line of defense

To the east of the railway line, heights give way to lowlands formed by the flow of the Bakhmutka River. The goal of the Ukrainian army here was to occupy the higher ground, which would allow it to exert pressure on Artyomovsk and push Russian troops southeast of the city.

  • Ukraine claims that it has established fire control over Artyomovsk’s supply routes, but for this to really happen, the AFU would need to move a lot further east. The Artyomovsk-Gorlovka highway, which the Ukrainian military approached, is not used for supplies.
  • According to the Ukrainian Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) community Deep State, Russian troops are supplied via the Artyomovsk-Debaltsevo highway (southern flank) and the Artyomovsk-Popasnaya highway (Artyomovsk and its northern flank).

If Ukraine were to establish control over Kleshcheyevka and Andreevka, as well as the surrounding heights, the AFU would be able to reach the Russian army’s current line of defense. This may happen at some point, but for Russian troops, it’s best to keep the Ukrainians as far away from the railway as possible – if the enemy succeeds in breaking through, the next line of defense can be set up only along the eastern bank of the Bakhmutka River.

September battles

Four months after the start of its counteroffensive near Artyomovsk, the Ukrainian army managed to occupy part of Kleshcheyevka and edge close to Andreevka. During this time, Russian forces greatly increased their use of FPV drones in the direction of Artyomovsk and elsewhere. On the evening of September 17, Ukrainian General Aleksandr Syrskiy announced full control over Kleshcheyevka, and photos of Kiev’s forces standing in the center of the village appeared online. The same evening, President Vladimir Zelensky commented on the supposed success of the Ukrainian army.

  • War correspondent Anna Dolgareva refuted these statements and said that Russian troops retained their positions in the north of the village.
  • There was also no visual evidence that the northern part of the village was controlled by Ukrainian forces. On September 18, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that the AFU’s attempted attack near Kleshcheyevka had been successfully repelled.

Despite the fact that the Russian army retains the main line of defense near the railway, the area it controls to the west of it has been gradually shrinking.

Russian troops launched a series of counterattacks to prevent the AFU from gaining a foothold in Kleshcheyevka, but control over the village remained divided between the two sides: while the northern part was mostly controlled by the Russians, the southern areas were under Kiev’s control.

On September 14, Maliar prematurely reported that the village of Andreevka had been captured by Ukrainian forces, prompting a wave of criticism in her homeland from politicians, journalists, and the military. After the incident, Verkhovna Rada Deputy Aleksey Goncharenko advised the public not to read Maliar’s posts. She soon retracted her statement, blaming a communication failure between her sources.

Maliar then admitted that fighting continued in Andreevka but insisted that the AFU was performing well. Later, footage appeared online of Ukrainian forces standing amidst the ruins of Andreevka.

Falling into the same trap

Launching a new counteroffensive near Artyomovsk was a matter of honor for Ukraine after it lost a major media symbol – the ‘Bakhmut Fortress’.

Potentially recapturing the city could neutralize that bitter defeat, and for that reason, Zelensky transferred one of his best generals, Syrskiy, and elite units such as the 3rd Assault Brigade and 80th Airborne Assault Brigade, to Artyomovsk.

  • Western experts and officials have been critical of the continuous ‘meat grinder’ battles in the Artyomovsk area. In the spring, they repeatedly advised Kiev to abandon the exhausting defense of the city and instead prepare a counteroffensive in Zaporozhye Region.

Zelensky’s unwillingness to follow this advice was among the reasons why the counteroffensive was delayed, and why progress in the Melitopol direction and in the area of the Vremevsky salient has been so slow.

  • In the summer, Western experts continued to criticize Ukraine’s strategy, encouraging it to abandon the counteroffensive south of Artyomovsk and instead transfer forces to the southern section of the front.

Generally speaking, the problems faced by Ukrainian troops in the course of their counteroffensive in Artyomovsk and in the south are similar: the AFU doesn’t have sufficient forces and means to break through Russian defense.

As a result, battles have turned into a ‘meat grinder’ of infantry units supported from afar by armored vehicles, artillery, and, in Russia’s case, aviation. The AFU’s advance near Artyomovsk is much slower than that of Russian troops when they captured the city. And even then, it took the Russians ten months to establish full control. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s counteroffensive is over four months old already.

The Ukrainian command cannot count on a speedy victory which would allow it to crush Russian troops and achieve significant changes.

  • It also cannot transfer forces near Artyomovsk to another direction, as if the Ukrainian army stops advancing, Russian troops will seize the initiative. At the tactical level, this has already happened near Berkhovka, when the AFU refused to advance on the northern flank and focused on the southern direction.
  • If anything, making progress near Artyomovsk would only harm Ukrainian forces – the price of advancing in this direction is growing by the day while the odds of achieving real success remain minimal. Yet instead of learning from the mistakes of the first ‘Bakhmut meat grinder’, Kiev continues to fall into the same trap.

Source: Vladislav Ugolny – RT

Poland stops weapons supplies to Ukraine – PM

Poland will no longer provide arms to the Ukrainian military, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said, adding that Warsaw would instead shift focus to its own security.

The decision follows a diplomatic row over Ukrainian grain imports, which were banned in Poland after flooding local markets.

Morawiecki told reporters on Wednesday that the government would halt the weapons shipments, highlighting a growing rift between the two neighbors after more than a year of heavy support from Warsaw.

  • “We are no longer transferring weapons to Ukraine, because we are now arming Poland with more modern weapons,” Morawiecki said. He later warned that additional trade bans could be imposed on Kiev, given that the “Ukrainian authorities do not understand the degree to which Poland’s farming industry has been destabilized” by foreign imports.
  • The comments came after Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky appeared to make a thinly veiled jab at Poland during a speech before the UN General Assembly earlier this week, saying that “some [countries] in Europe play out solidarity in a political theater” and are “making a thriller for the grain.”

The trade spat has steadily escalated in recent months. As major Black Sea shipping lanes were closed off due to the conflict with Russia, Ukrainian grain poured into Central and European markets, tanking prices and wreaking havoc for local producers.

The grain glut prompted a formal import ban among five EU members to protect domestic farmers – Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

Though the bloc-wide ban expired last week, Warsaw, Budapest and Bratislava have opted to keep the policy in place on an individual basis, each arguing it is needed to stabilize prices.

  • Kiev has insisted that the bans are illegal, with Economy Minister Yulia Sviridenko stating that “it is crucially important for us to prove that individual member states cannot ban imports of Ukrainian goods.”

The government has since filed lawsuits with the World Trade Organization, seeking to halt the trade restrictions, though Warsaw dismissed the move, saying that a “complaint before the WTO doesn’t impress us.”

Poland has been among Ukraine’s most vocal supporters throughout the conflict with Moscow, repeatedly urging other EU members to step up military aid while approving a long line of its own arms shipments. Polish President Andrzej Duda recently urged Kiev to “remember” his country’s status as a logistical hub for weapons deliveries and compared Ukraine to a drowning man, who might drag his rescuers under the water with him.

The decision to stop the flow of weapons comes as Kiev’s summer counteroffensive continues to lag into the fall, with Ukrainian forces struggling to penetrate Russia’s heavy front-line fortifications despite more than a year of Western arms transfers, training and intelligence support.

Source: RT

Germany demands explanation from Poland over migrants

Germany summoned Polish ambassador Dariusz Pawlos to the Interior Ministry in Berlin on Tuesday, demanding that he explain an alleged scheme whereby migrants from Asia and Africa were sold EU visas for thousands of euros each.

In addition to summoning Pawlos, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser held a meeting with her Polish counterpart, Reuters reported.

Poland’s Foreign Ministry and consulates are accused of issuing visas to migrants from Asia and Africa without adequate background checks, as long as bribes were paid to intermediaries.

The scheme was uncovered by Polish media outlets earlier this month, who claimed that up to 350,000 visas have been issued this way since 2021, with visas costing $4,000-5,000 each.

  • Poland is a member of the EU’s visa-free Schengen zone, meaning that anyone who obtains a Polish visa can freely enter 26 other EU nations.

It is unclear how many migrants took advantage of this arrangement to enter Germany. However, hundreds of extra border police have been deployed on the frontier with Poland to scan for suspicious travelers, Reuters reported.

According to one report from Poland’s Onet news site, former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Piotr Wawrzyk arranged visas for a group of Indians posing as a Bollywood film crew.

  • The Indians paid up to $40,000 each for these visas, before using them to attempt to enter the US via Mexico. US immigration agents reportedly tipped off the Polish government when they encountered the group at the American border.

Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau has dismissed the scandal as “fake news,” insisting that only around 200 documents were issued with any “irregularities.” However, Wawrzyk was dismissed from his post last month, and eleven other suspects were arrested last week. Wawrzyk was hospitalized after attempting to commit suicide last week, Polish media reported.

The controversy erupted one month ahead of parliamentary elections in Poland, where the ruling PiS party has positioned itself as being tough on migration. The government also plans to hold a referendum on immigration and border security, in which citizens will be asked whether they support accepting “thousands of illegal immigrants from the Middle East and Africa” as part of an EU relocation plan.

Source: RT

IDF unveils new ‘Barak’ tank

The Defense Ministry and IDF today (Tuesday) unveiled for the first time the new ‘Barak’ tank.

The joint statement reads:

  • “Sensing and front-end processing capabilities based on artificial intelligence, the ability to reveal the enemy and create targets for combat troops on the battlefield, full combat in closed ranges based on 360-degree peripheral observation and a “pilots” helmet for the commander, multi-touch screens, advanced operation controllers, adaptation to changing combat situations and improved survivability – these are just some of the capabilities of the new tank that was recently brought to service in the IDF.”

Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant said:

  • “It is very meaningful that during the period when we mark 50 years since the ‘Yom Kippur War’, and the heroic battles fought during this war by the soldiers of the Armored Corps in defense of our country- we receive further proof of the relevance and power of the tank as an essential tool. The Barak tank is very innovative – it takes our maneuvering capabilities to another level, and it is a clear expression of our technological capabilities. I would like to express my appreciation to the engineers of the Tank and APC Administration, the Israeli Ground Forces and all those involved in the professional process.”

The 5th generation Barak, the first battle tank of the IDF, was developed by the Tank and APC Directorate in the Ministry of Defense, in cooperation with the Weapons Department of the Israeli Ground Forces and the Armored Corps.

The tank incorporates systems from Elbit Systems, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, the ELTA Systems Ltd. of Israel Aerospace Industries, and additional defense industries from Qiryat Shemona to Mitzpe Ramon.

  • The first mass-produced Barak Tanks were received this month in the 52nd Battalion of the 401st Armored Brigade and will become the main battle tanks of the Armored Corps and weapon systems for deciding maneuvers.

The exposure, operation and processing capabilities of the Barak will cause a dramatic change on the battlefield.

The commander will be equipped with a combat helmet developed by “Elbit Systems”, similar to pilot helmets, which will display on the lens all of the relevant combat data, when they are anchored in the combat space.

  • The system will allow 360-degree scanning by moving the head and locating targets in real time with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. To this will be added an improved tank and artillery sight with advanced observation and night capabilities, with an improved net cross. New capabilities that will allow the tank crew to fight in closed ranges, with better protection throughout the entire battle, partly thanks to the advanced defense system ‘WindGuard” manufactured by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, whose role is to deal with anti-tank missiles. The tank’s fire capabilities have also undergone a significant upgrade.

The Barak Tank will enhance the capabilities needed to expose an enemy and will enable combat against an enemy with a low profile and in all combat situations on the current and future battlefield, against the set of threats that exist for the maneuvering force. The Barak will be equipped with a commander’s sight and a gunner and with continuous and up-to-date intelligence collection, fusion and sharing capabilities. The Barak will allow the battalion combat team to fight continuously at a fast pace while exposing the enemy, combined with the activation of independent, organic or spatial fire, which will increase the achievements of the combat team. The “Barak” Tank has capabilities and means to close circles of fire between all the forces fighting on land and in the air, in a way that will reduce time and increase accuracy in battle.

The Barak Tank will have the ability to quickly produce and extract information and transfer it to strike assemblies, as part of a target bank, as well as the ability to transfer intelligence in real time between the branches. For this purpose, the Barak Tank was equipped with a wide and reliable sensor infrastructure, which will allow it to grasp an area in a more extensive way, acquire targets in the environment and close circles of fire in short and precise times.

  • The Barak Tank will be equipped with advanced connectivity capabilities for other tanks and weapons on the battlefield. The Barak Tank will also be equipped with touch screens, similar to smartphone devices and the use of unique applications with simple operation for the future recruiting generations, which will allow easy and accessible operation for the tank crew.

The restoration and maintenance center in the Technological and Logistics Directorate (J4) is the body entrusted with the production of the Barak Tank. From steel plates into a powerful tank that constitutes a significant part of land maneuvering,

The restoration and maintenance center takes a significant part in the project and enables the production of the most advanced tanks in the world and their delivery directly to the operational end.

IMOD Director General, MG (res) Eyal Zamir said:

  • “For the past four decades, Merkava Tanks have formed the backbone of the Armored Corps and on-ground fighting, today we are entering a new era on the ground’s battlefield, the era of the Barak. The Barak Tank is the most advanced combat machine of its kind In the world, which will bring to the IDF, the Israeli Ground Forces and the soldiers of the Armored Corps fire capabilities, AI, intelligence, connectivity between tools and active defense, a breakthrough on the modern battlefield.
  • “I congratulate the engineers of the Tank and APC Administration, the experts of the Armored Corps, the Israeli Ground Forces and the Merkava Industries, who made the technological leap together. On this occasion, it is necessary to mention “Talik” MG, Israel Tal who began the development and building of Israel’s Merkava Project and the Deputy Chief of the General Staff during the Yom Kippur War, thanks to his vision, today we are privileged to inaugurate the fifth generation of battle tanks of the Merkava model.”

Commanding Officer of the Israeli Ground Forces, MG Tamir Yadai:

  • “The Barak Merkava Tank is a source of pride and an expression of the strength of the IDF, the Ministry of Defense, the Tank and APC Administration and the defense industries in Israel. The Barak Tank incorporates ground-breaking technologies, which enable soldiers of the Armored Corps unique defense and attack capabilities that improve maneuverability tremendously. The reception of the Barak Tanks alongside the Eitan AFV and the Namer is part of the process of equipping ourselves with the best and most adapted tools that will allow the Israeli Ground Forces to operate at a high rate of operations and significantly reduce the attrition ratio”

Head of the Ministry’s Defense Merkava and Armored Vehicles Directorate, Brig. Gen. Oren Giber:

  • “In the development of the Barak, Israel sets a very high standard of technological excellence. A battle tank that is a unique weapon system, based on a high-quality sensing array, artificial intelligence engines, and an adapted and intuitive operating interface. The Barak Tank was designed based on a concept of anti-fragility, with the aim of providing the IDF soldiers a weapon system with built-in flexibility, which will allow them to win in all combat situations. I am proud of the genius of the development and the strength of the commitment of the people of the Merkava and Armored Vehicles Directorate, the weapon system division of the Israeli Ground Forces and of the Israeli defense industry, which is unparalleled in the world, and I wish to bless the soldiers of the Armored Corps with the blessing that they have risen and succeeded because it is also clear to us, the developers of the Armored Combat Vehicles, that today, as in the past, it is the man in the tank who will win.”

Commanding Officer of the Armored Corps, Brig. Gen. Hisham Ibrahim:

  • “A few days before a new year, and in the 50th year mark of the Yom Kippur War, the Armored Corps is equipping itself with the Barak Tank, which is the pride of the Israeli industry, a tank that is an Israeli design. In my eyes, this is far more exhilarating, that in the year in which we celebrate the heroism of the 1973’s generation of the soldiers of the Armored Corps, who stopped the attacks of the Arab armies with their bodies, demonstrated bravery and a fighting spirit worthy of mentioning, this is a historic event. The Barak Tank is based on breakthrough technologies. Combining these technologies with the quality of our people, the soldiers of the Armored Corps, will result in a tremendous advantage in continental superiority, and in defeating our enemy in the following systems. I am proud of the privilege to be at the head of the corps at such a historic moment.”

Commanding Officer of the 401st Armored Brigade, COL Beni Aharon: “In the last year, the 401st Armored Brigade dealt with the absorption and assimilation of the Barak Tank into the brigade. The brigade invested in learning the capabilities of the tank against the nature of combat and its use in battle, in the training of the crew members and those in charge, and in the cooperation of the tank with other advanced anti-tank weapons, such as the Namer and the Engineering Namer. The absorption of the tank is a tremendous opportunity to improve operational effectiveness in preparation for the next campaign and a significant force multiplier for the IDF, the Israeli Ground Forces and the Armored Corps. The 401st Armored Brigade sees the Barak Tank as a historic event and a national mission for victory in the next campaign. We were privileged to be the first Armored Brigade to receive the Barak Tank and therefore a great responsibility rests on our shoulders – our mission is to fulfill it with distinction.”

Source: Arutz Sheva

Netanyahu meets Erdogan: ‘Our ties are improving’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Tuesday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

  • This is the first meeting between the two leaders since 2016.

The Prime Minister said at the start of the meeting, “Our ties are improving.”

The meeting lasted about an hour. The Prime Minister was accompanied by the head of the Mossad, David Barnea.

  • The Prime Minister’s Office stated following the meeting that Netanyahu and Erdogan “discussed the promotion of relations in various fields as well as regional and international issues, including the normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia.”
  • It also added that Netanyahu thanked Erdogan for the cooperation between the security organizations of the two countries that resulted in thwarting the malicious intentions of terrorist groups to harm Israeli tourists in Istanbul.

In addition, the two mutually invited each other for visits to Israel and Turkey and it was agreed that these visits will be coordinated and will take place soon.

  • Netanyahu was supposed to visit Turkey this past July and meet with Erdogan, but canceled the visit after undergoing a procedure to implant a pacemaker.
  • Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met with the Turkish President this past February, and Netanyahu spoke with him on the phone in June and congratulated him on his election victory.

Israel and Turkey formally announced last year that they would normalize relations by returning the ambassadors and consuls, after years of tensions.

  • In December, Israel’s Ambassador to Turkey, Irit Lillian, presented her credentials to Erdogan. In March, the new Turkish Ambassador to Israel, Şakir Özkan Torunlar, presented his credentials to President Herzog.

Source: Arutz Sheva

Netanyahu meets Zelenskyy, who says: ‘I expect a lot from Israel’

For the first time since the Russian invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met on Tuesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

  • Seconds after shaking hands with the Prime Minister, Zelenskyy rushed to give Mossad head David Barnea a warm hug, something that sparked worldwide attention and speculation that the two know each other.

At the start of the meeting between the two leaders, Zelenskyy said, “I expect a lot from Israel, but there are no problems in our relations.”

  • When asked if he was satisfied with Israel’s policy vis-à-vis Ukraine, the Ukrainian President replied, “We will sit down now and talk about relations and important things and see what happens next.”

At the conclusion of the meeting, which lasted about half an hour, the teams left the room and the two leaders remained to speak face to face.

The Prime Minister’s Office said following the meeting, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met today during the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The meeting was friendly.”

“Prime Minister Netanyahu made it clear that Israel will continue to help Ukraine with humanitarian issues,” the statement added.

Source: Arutz Sheva

Iconic US clothing brands may return to Russia

The stores of US clothing brands Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein may reopen in Russia this year under new names, according to Pavel Lyulin, the vice president of the Russian Union of Shopping Centers.

  • Lyulin told RIA Novosti on Monday that discussions regarding the sale of the chain of stores have been ongoing ever since PVH Corp., the American brands’ parent company, handed over its operations in the Russian market to local management in mid-August.

This locally registered entity, which was rebranded as ‘Retail Excellence,’ is set to oversee operations for over 150 outlets in the country, as reported by Kommersant daily last week.

  • “The stores’ assortment will be based on goods from the brands Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein since they are included in the list of parallel imports. Prices are unlikely to be adjusted significantly, no more than by inflation,” Lyulin explained.
  • The industry insider also noted that a Tommy Hilfiger store already operates in Moscow’s Aviapark shopping center without the brand logo.

PVH joined other Western firms in an exodus from the Russian market last year due to sanctions imposed on Moscow. At the end of February 2022, the company announced the suspension of commercial operations and, later, the closure of its stores in the country.

Due to these businesses departing from the country, Russia has had to transition to parallel imports of goods from Western markets and explore opportunities from non-Western markets. Consequently, brands from Türkiye, China, India, and other ‘friendly’ nations have increased their presence within Russia.

Source: RT

EU reveals number of Ukrainian refugees in the bloc

The EU migration crisis is a challenge that should be handled not by a single European country or region, but by the entire bloc as it deals with millions of asylum seekers, particularly from Ukraine, Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for Internal Market, has said.

  • Speaking to Sud Radio on Monday, the official suggested that migration – which has recently been on the rise, especially in Italy – “affects us all,” including southern and eastern countries. “

We have welcomed … almost 10 million Ukrainian refugees,” he said, adding that the Czech Republic stands out in terms of the number of people it has hosted.

  • “Four percent of its population – 440,000 Ukrainian migrants for a population of 9 million people. Could you imagine that?” he said, noting that Hungary and Poland have also played a major role in providing shelter to Ukrainians fleeing from hostilities in their home country.

In early March 2022, shortly after the start of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev, the EU for the first time in its history invoked the Temporary Protection Directive, which can be used only in exceptional circumstances to deal with a “mass influx of refugees.”

The legislation guarantees Ukrainians access to accommodation, welfare, and healthcare and gives them the right to enter the labor market, and enroll children in educational institutions.

  • In terms of absolute numbers, Russia accommodates the most Ukrainian refugees (1.27 million), followed by Germany (1.09 million), and Poland (968,000), according to Statista.

Breton’s comments come as some 7,000 migrants swarmed the small Italian island of Lampedusa last week, which itself has a population of less than 7,000 people. Local mayor Filippo Mannino said that the crisis had reached a “point of no return,” while the UN Refugee Agency described the situation as “critical,” adding that moving people off the island was “an absolute priority.”

According to official data, more than 127,000 refugees have arrived in Italy as of September this year, double the number for the same period in 2022.

Source: RT

Thousands protest against EU state’s pro-Western government

Thousands of supporters of the Czech non-parliamentary PRO (Law, Respect, Expertise) party gathered in the center of Prague on Saturday to demand the resignation of the country’s government over its pro-Western policies.

It is estimated that some 10,000 people attended the rally, which was held at Prague’s Wenceslas Square, according to local reports cited by Reuters.

The PRO party, however, claims that over 100,000 people participated in the anti-government demonstrations, which were the third of their kind organized by the populist group this year.

  • The head of the party, Jindrich Rajchl, claimed during the event that the Czech Republic’s current five-party ruling coalition, headed by Prime Minister Petr Fiala, was “following orders from Brussels” and criticized the government’s continued military support for Ukraine, as well as its close ties with the United States.
  • “They are agents of foreign powers, people who fulfill orders, ordinary puppets. And I do not want a puppet government any more,” Rajchl told the crowd, adding that the Czech Republic should also veto any attempts by Ukraine to join NATO. Some of the demonstrators flat out demanded Prague exit the US-led military bloc.
  • Protesters also took issue with the way the current government has been handling inflation – which has hit double digits – tax changes, pension adjustments, measures to reduce fossil fuel usage in the automotive industry, and COVID-19 restrictions that were adopted under PM Fiala.

Rajchl insisted that the Czech government should represent the interests of its citizens and voiced concerns about the country’s social and health system’s capacity, particularly in light of a recent influx of economic migrants from Ukraine.

The last time the PRO party organized such demonstrations back in April, protesters also criticized the Czech government for devoting too many resources to helping Ukraine fight Russia rather than tackling issues at home. Back then, the demonstrators also demanded the resignation of the country’s leadership, which some accused of being “full of warmongers” who are making the Czech people suffer economically.

Prague has been one of Kiev’s closest allies in the ongoing conflict with Moscow. Since hostilities broke out in February 2022, the Czech Republic has supplied Ukraine with tanks, rocket launchers, helicopters, artillery shells and other military aid.

  • The country has also taken in some 460,000 Ukrainian refugees since the crisis broke out, with 300,000 of them still living there, according to a Euronews report earlier this year.

Source: RT

Mass migrations have always put an end to weak and declining civilizations

Imagine a ship. You start by changing the bow, then the rudder, the hull, the mast, the sail and finally all the constituent parts as they erode. At the end of this transformation, will it still be the same ship? Plutarch’s image in the “Life of Theseus” offers some help for a reflection on identity. Let’s imagine that the boat is our civilization. Would we still be faced with the same civilization?

With the wave of mass migration towards Europe we are faced with the greatest upheaval of European identity since the times of the Spanish Reconquista and the Ottoman wars.

  • Italian PM Giorgia Meloni said that “millions” will come, after 10.000 migrants landed in the Italian island of Lampedusa.

History teaches that all civilizations, regardless of technological level, are subject to mass migrations once they reach senescence and that, sooner or later, they see their identities and social cohesion threatened.

In 2022 alone, the European Union welcomed 1 million asylum seekers, not counting the flows of regular immigrants.

  • Even if the numbers remained the same, by the end of the century they would be 100 million out of a population of 400 million, a third of whom are over 65. The repopulation and change of civilization would be complete.

The best-known example comes, obviously, from classical antiquity.

The tribes moved from the Germanic regions to the Roman Empire, destroying its institutions and infrastructure and forming their own kingdoms, which, ultimately, led to the fragmentation and dissolution of the Empire.

  • There is the ancient civilization of the Sumerians, a sedentary society threatened by the nomadic people of the Amorites, who arrived from northern Mesopotamia. A similar evolution is known in Pharaonic Egypt. Here it was the Libyans of the western desert and the Canaanite peoples of the east who settled in the delta region, as prisoners of war, as mercenaries, as simple immigrants.

European countries in the 20th and 21st centuries have mortgaged their future with a series of individual decisions in what the historian Georges Bensoussan has defined as “the great demographic-migration shock”.

Sweden. In 1975 it introduced multiculturalism with the social democratic prime minister Olof Palme. Fast forward to 2014, when Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt called on fellow citizens to “open their hearts” to refugees from around the world: “I ask the Swedish people to be patient and supportive, in the long term we will create a better world.” In one year, Sweden welcomed 163,000 people. The equivalent of 1.6 percent of the total population. As if Italy had let in 600,000 migrants in a year. Sweden never recovered.

  • France. 1976 is the year of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing’s “family reunion”.

The idea of bringing immigrant families seemed, at the time, natural and right. But with the massive increase in immigration from Muslim countries this has proven to be a fatal mistake. Raymond Barre suspended it for three years, before the Council of State annulled the decision, arguing that family reunification was “now part of the general principles of law”. It starts with the wife and her children, then come the wife’s parents, the other children of the wife’s parents and their children. And so on,

in a demographic chain that has become repopulation.

Germany. Here, more than a date (31 August 2015), there is the slogan: “Wir schaffen das”. One million Muslim Syrians enter. Europe’s most powerful country told the others: “The EU’s external borders will not be defended.”

Belgium. The liberal senator Alain Destexhe in the book “Immigration et Intégration: avant qu’il ne soit trop tard” writes: “Relative to its population, Belgium has experienced a more important migration shock than France, Germany or the Netherlands! In twenty years, Belgium has naturalized 600,000 to 700,000 people, that is, 5 or 6 percent of the population, not to mention illegal immigrants and asylum seekers. From 2000 to 2010, Belgium welcomed more than one million migrants out of a population of eleven million.”

What scenarios await Europe regarding immigration?

The answer, even more pessimistic than mine, is provided by a book written by a French scholar, Stephen Smith, and the book is “Escape to Europe. Young Africa towards the old continent”. “The situation is reminiscent of Mexico in the 1970s,” Smith writes about Europe. “Before that time, only a small portion of the population could scrape together the means to cross the Rio Grande and settle in the United States. Between 1975 and 2010, ten million Mexicans immigrated to America both legally and illegally. In all, including their U.S.-born children, Mexican-Americans now form a community of 30 million people, 10 percent of the U.S. population.

If Africans followed that example between now and 2050, Europe’s population would include 150 to 200 million African-Europeans, counting immigrants and their children.

In just over thirty years, between a fifth and a quarter of the population in Europe would be of African origin. I can imagine how Europeans might tremble at the thought. Their fears are not unfounded at all.”

The scenario that Smith calls “Eurafrica”. Solutions? The first is what Smith calls “Fortress Europe”. “Jean-Christophe Rufin – with acumen bordering on clairvoyance – predicted this after the fall of the Berlin Wall in his 1991 book ‘L’Empire et les nouveaux barbares’: the reconstruction of a limes – the border wall of Roman Empire – as a means of protecting European civilization. But the dams that can be erected will not be enough to stop the many waves that await us.” The second solution is the “return to the protectorate”. Taking charge of Africa again. But in the time of atonement, of woke, of cultural decolonization and of the permanent process of “Eurocentric civilization”, we would no longer be capable of it.

Paul Valéry said it in 1919: “We know that civilizations are mortal. We had heard of entire worlds disappearing, of empires collapsing. We saw through the depth of history, the ghosts of immensity, the ships full of wealth and spirit.”

  • Will Europe be able to preserve its ship of Theseus, escaping the disastrous fate of the sinking of civilizations and ensuring that Judeo-Christian treasures reach the shores of the next generations?

Source: Giulio Mwotti – Arutz Sheva

EU country’s farmers stage major Ukraine grain protest

Bulgarian farmers have taken to the streets in protest, causing blockades at dozens of highways and border crossings on Monday.

They are voicing their discontent with the government’s decision to lift the ban on Ukrainian grain imports.

The protest follows unsuccessful attempts to resolve the matter through negotiations with the government. Professional associations are actively participating in this widespread demonstration, with 26 joining the cause.

  • The protest is slated to continue with a mass rally in the capital, Sofia, scheduled for Tuesday. National authorities have called on participants to adhere to the law.

The farmers’ grievances stem from the government’s refusal to maintain the prohibition on Ukrainian grain in the domestic market. An EU-wide ban, initially imposed in May, expired the previous Friday.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov’s comments ahead of the protests further fueled tensions. As farmer groups announced their plans, he characterized them as behaving “like terrorists” and stated, “I do not negotiate with terrorists” during a television appearance last Saturday.

Denkov held a press conference on the eve of the demonstration, reiterating his belief that the protesters’ demands were unreasonable.

He emphasized that Kiev had pledged to regulate its exports to Bulgaria based on the country’s capacity to absorb specific products. The organizers of the strike, he claimed, refused to engage in negotiations.

  • Members of the Bulgarian agriculture sector are advocating for reinstating the ban on Ukrainian products, with potential expansion to include items such as fruits, vegetables, meat, milk, and honey.

They are also demanding total compensation for farmers, a commitment the EU had made to Sofia when agreeing to the initial ban.

Local media outlets have linked protest organizers to President Roumen Radev, although his office is largely symbolic. Radev has been a vocal critic of the EU’s policy of providing military support to Kiev.

The original EU restrictions were instigated by five member states neighboring Ukraine in response to a surplus of affordable grain that had depressed local prices and incited mass protests.

Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia have maintained their national restrictions, defying Brussels, while Bulgaria and Romania have opted out.

Source: RT

Musk agrees that Ukraine’s counteroffensive has failed

Ukrainian troops have suffered colossal losses during Kiev’s counteroffensive while achieving almost no results, Tesla and Space X CEO Elon Musk has said.

  • Writing on X (formerly Twitter) on Sunday, the US tycoon commented on a post by investor and entrepreneur David Sacks, who shared an article by analyst David Pyne stating that “Ukrainian territorial gains from their much-vaunted counteroffensive are so miniscule they can barely be seen on a map.”

Musk appeared to agree with this assessment, writing: “So much death for so little.”

The message by Sacks was an update to an earlier post he made on June 20 in which he summed up the Ukrainian push up to that point, which had been underway for two weeks. He said that “it’s becoming clear that the Ukrainian counteroffensive is failing to achieve any of its originally stated objectives,” adding that Washington’s hopes that Kiev would be able to cut off Russia’s land bridge to Crimea had been dashed.

He also suggested that given the lack of progress by Ukraine on the battlefield, the hostilities were heading towards a stalemate, adding that another possibility was that “Russia will take more territory and win the war.” Musk responded at the time to the article by writing “well said.”

The US billionaire has on several occasions locked horns with Ukrainian officials over the conflict.

Earlier this month, Mikhail Podoliak, an aide to President Vladimir Zelensky, accused Musk of “enabling evil” over his refusal to allow Kiev to use Starlink satellites to support a Ukrainian drone attack on Crimea last year.

Musk responded by saying that he had no obligation to fight for Kiev while explaining that he did not want his Space X company to “be explicitly complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation.”

Russian officials have repeatedly said that despite numerous attempts to breach Moscow’s defenses, Ukrainian troops have failed to gain any substantial ground.

President Vladimir Putin recently provided an estimate of Kiev’s losses at more than 71,000 troops, 543 tanks, and nearly 18,000 armored vehicles of various types.

Mark Milley, the outgoing chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, predicted in an interview with CNN on Sunday that a quick end to the conflict is unlikely, adding that Kiev’s goal of regaining all the territory it considers its own is “a very high bar.”

Source: RT