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Editor’s note: Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin is an online, subscription intelligence news service from the creator of WorldNetDaily.com – a journalist who has been developing sources around the world for the last 25 years.

In the wake of a claim by Russian military and political sources that North Korea is only five weeks from full nuclear capability, Moscow is preparing for the possible use of force against its neighbor, despite the Kremlin’s often cozy diplomatic relationship with Pyonyang’s Kim Jong-Il, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin intelligence newsletter.

Last week, North Korea agreed to multi-lateral talks with the U.S., China, Japan, South Korea and Russia to discuss its nuclear program. While Russia and China maintain relations with North Korea, both are wary of Pyongyang’s potential for destabilizing the region. Kim’s regime has threatened the U.S. and other nations with nuclear missiles.

“Information from Moscow shows that, while President Vladimir Putin is refraining from making dramatic statements about North Korea, other officials, normally at the level of deputy ministers and regional army commanders, reveals North Korea is only five weeks away from announcing her full nuclear capability,” says the G2 Bulletin report.

Officials in Russia’s Far East, based in the city of Vladivostok, were quoted last week as saying they believe the North Korean crisis could lead to military operations. Russia is also preparing to admit at least 200,000 North Korean refugees in the event of a crisis. Russian border guards have also stepped up patrols and built new observation posts along the 19-kilometer Russian-North Korean border.

“This corner of the world, traditionally far from the Western eye, is of great importance to Russia,” says the G2 Bulletin report. “It is close to China, on her own way to become a global superpower, and an area where, during the Korean War of 1950 to 1953, the world was faced with the danger of a nuclear disaster.”

Putin knows that, sooner or later, the North Korean issue will have to be solved with the use of force, says the report. Such a solution might be costly, especially to countries neighboring North Korea. One analyst wrote in a Russian paper: “We have to prove to the world, and especially to our Far East neighbors, we were and are a superpower.”

While Russia is slowly coming out of her economic difficulties, Moscow will not permit further deterioration of its military superiority in the east. Russia is modernizing its military forces across the board – but especially its navy.

“As the Russian navy is celebrating its nuclear submarine 50th anniversary, Moscow is openly displaying her determination to prove the race is not over and, out of the rusting former Soviet fleet, Russia is gradually re-emerging as a revived naval force for the first time since the collapse of the old Soviet Union,” says the G2 Bulletin report.

Celebrating 50 years since the inauguration of its nuclear-submarine program, the Russian government is announcing the renewal of its aging submarine fleet.

The announcement, which came in the middle of large-scale naval maneuvers in the Baltic Sea, has attracted attention at NATO and among U.S. naval analysts, who regard the once-mighty Soviet fleet as not much more than a vast floating junkyard.

Lately, Russia is engaged in a project of upgrading and renewing parts of its strategic intercontinental-missile unit, including the development of new weapon systems and upgraded warheads. This project meets Russia’s international commitments to arms-control agreements, especially START-1 Arms Reduction Treaty, which will leave Russia with 150 SS-19 missiles with 900 warheads. Additional agreements signed between President Bush and Putin require the U.S. and Russia to cut their nuclear arsenals by two-thirds by 2012. Clearly, Putin took an important decision by moving ahead with his new armament plans, aimed at keeping Russia in her traditional place as the No. 2 military power to the U.S. The Putin administration is doing this in the middle of a slow economic recovery and an overall plan of upgrading and changing Russia’s armed forces. These plans include downsizing land forces and re-organization of all army, navy and air force units.

Another indication of Russia’s intentions to remain in the forefront of military powers is a new intelligence satellite program indicating Russia’s plans to close the technical gap with the U.S. This contains the introduction of new satellite models. According to Russian statements, published as recently as this month, the first such satellite was launched July 28, and the second, with similar specifications, is to be launched Aug. 12. Both are of the low-near-earth orbit class with a distance of 200 to 300 kilometers from earth. The first was launched from Baikonur in Kazakhstan, and the second will be launched from Plesetsk in the Arkhandal region. Western intelligence sources believe this program includes a new age of military satellites capable of being used also as test platforms for the weapons of tomorrow, such as advanced laser technology and better jamming capabilities.

The Russian initiative is being carried out while Moscow struggles with economic problems, aware of the fact time is running out for Russia to keep her position as the No. 2 military power on the planet.

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