<a "Defence Ministers of the Nordic countries will be meeting in Helsinki this coming Tuesday and Wednesday for talks on tighter defence cooperation.
Earlier this year, a report drawn up by a group headed by former Norwegian Foreign Minister Thorvald Stoltenberg proposed that the the Nordic countries jointly take responsibility for Icelandic airspace once the United States closes its base at Keflavik, Iceland.
According to Finnish Defense Minister Jyri Häkämies, participation in such an arrangement would be too expensive for Finland.
'This is primarily a matter of the supervision of the airspace of a NATO country, so it is also a political question. And it would not be free. The air force's budget has just been balanced, and the first order of business is not to send planes off somewhere,' Häkämies told Turun Sanomat."
That is bigger than what NATO countries -- excluding the United States -- are forecast to spend for new naval construction in the same period, said Bob Nugent, vice president of US-based naval consultancy AMI International.
The world's biggest spender will remain the United States at a little above $60 billion between now and 2014, Nugent said here on the eve of IMDEX Asia 2009, Asia's top maritime defense show.
Non-NATO European countries led by Russia are forecast to spend $11 billion on new naval capabilities in the next five years, he added."
"In spite of Russia objections and opposition activities, NATO war games, called Cooperative Longbow 09/Cooperative Lancer 09, began their active phase in Georgia today. Nineteen countries with 1300 servicemen were invited to participate. Six countries, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Estonia, Moldova, Serbia and Armenia, later pulled out of the games, however.
Cooperative Longbow 09 is a command post operation conducted at Georgian military headquarters in Tbilisi, according to Media Monitors Network, while Cooperatives Lancers 09 is a field exercise. Activities have been underway in Georgia since May 6, and the opening ceremony for the weapon-less games took place yesterday. The exercises will last a month in all."
">Helsingin Sanomat - International Edition - Foreign: "Alliance experts to train Finns against online attacks.
There are plans for cooperation with a NATO unit set up in the Estonian capital Tallinn. The unit is specialised in defending data networks against cyber-attacks..."
"A considerable impetus leading to the establishment of NATO’s cyber defence centre came in the spring of 2007 when the dispute over the location of a Soviet war monument in Tallinn led to online denial of service attacks against Estonia, which shut down the web pages of the Estonian government for several days.
Georgia experienced similar attacks during fighting with Russia last year."
Photo of Tallinn statue at center of controversy: Kari Pullinen
Batkuashvili, who was head of defense planning directorate, J-5, at MoD during the August war, was arrested on May 6.
Both the investigators and a defense lawyer have declined to reveal details of the case.
Charges have been brought under part one of article 320 of the Georgian criminal code involving “intentional or negligent disclosure of the state secret,” Batkuashvili’s defense lawyer, Onise Mebonia, told Civil.Ge on May 9.
Batkuashvili was Georgia’s military attaché to the mission in NATO till 2006.
Davit Sikharulidze, the Georgian defense minister, declined to comment details of the case and ongoing investigation citing that it was “not within my competence.”
“It is a very alarming fact for me,” he said in the Rustavi 2 TV’s weekly political talk show, Position, late on May 8. I think that as soon as the investigation is over, all the materials will be unveiled.”
There has been speculation in the press that Batkuashvili’s case could have been linked to the case of Vakhtang Maisaia. The latter has served as counselor at the Georgian mission in NATO in 2004-2008. He was arrested for espionage earlier this week.
From AFP: Russia on Saturday sternly warned its foes not to dare attempt any aggression against the country, as it put on a Soviet-style show of military might in Red Square including nuclear capable missiles.
The display to mark the 64th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II came amid renewed tensions with Georgia after NATO's decision to hold war games in the Caucasus country infuriated Moscow."
"Thousands of soldiers marched past Medvedev and Putin, before dozens of heavy tanks, including the main T-90 battle tank and the Sprut self-propelled anti-tank gun, thundered through Red Square to the sound of martial music.
There was a rare public showing for some of Russia's best known missile systems, including the S-300 and S-400 anti-aircraft missiles, the short range Iskander-M and the medium-range Buk.
As in 2008, Russia proudly showed off a half dozen examples of its nuclear-capable Topol intercontinental ballistic missile which has a range of more than 10,000 kilometres (6,500 miles).
Squadrons of fighter jets also flew over Red Square."
The first exercise is named Cooperative Longbow 09 and aims to improve coordination between brigade commanders with procedure, coordination and command systems. It was scheduled to involve around 220 soldiers and does not involve tanks.
The second exercise is named Cooperative Lancer 09. This is a live firing exercise termed 'crisis response' and aims to improve cooperation at battalion level. The exercise was planned for around 400 soldiers and does not involve tanks."
From NATO: Chiefs of Defence (CHODs) from more than 40 countries, together with NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Operations and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation, attended the NATO Military Committee Spring Meetings in their various sessions over 6 and 7 MayChiefs of Defence (CHODs) from more than 40 countries, together with NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Operations and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation, attended the NATO Military Committee Spring Meetings in their various sessions over 6 and 7 May. (Photo: NATO)
From RIA Novosti: During a 15-hour mission, the bombers conducted in-flight refueling from Il-78 Midas aerial tankers. The Russian planes were shadowed by NATO F-16 and Tornado fighters. (Photo: RIA Novosti)