Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu is clearing house within the Russian navy's admiralty. Shoigu canned dozens of top officers from the Baltic Fleet, citing “dereliction of duty” and “distortion of the real state of things" as the reason for the dismissals. The firings took out Vice Baltic Fleet commander Admiral Viktor Kravchuk and flowed through his senior aides. What, specifically, led to the shakeup remains unclear but Russia has been on a consistent course of confrontation with NATO forces in the Baltics, intercepting American spy planes there and buzzing U.S. intelligence ships.
Instagram user @rus_foxhound_rus posts an up-close happy snap of what appears to be a U.S. RC-135U spy plane. U.S. Air Force RC-135s have been the target of harassment by Russian fighter jets recently with the warplanes carrying out what the U.S. has labeled as dangerous intercepts of the aircraft.
Armenia is now officially a part of Russia's air defense network. Reuters reports that Armenia's parliament has okayed an agreement to integrate its forces into a regional air defense network with Russia, which Armenian Defence Minister Seyran Ohanyan says "will allow us to have serious reconnaissance data." Armenia is locked in a long running conflict with its neighbor Azerbaijan, with the Nagorno-Karabakh serving as a recent flashpoint. The regional air defense network, however, will not cover Nagorno-Karabakh.
Russia has accused a U.S. diplomat who was tackled by a Federal Security Service (FSB) guard of being a spy. Sources tell Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that the FSB officer broke the diplomat's shoulder after sacking him outside the U.S. embassy in Moscow. Russia's Foreign Ministry, however, claims that the American is a CIA officer under diplomatic cover who threw an elbow at the FSB guard and denies that his shoulder was broken in the incident. The confrontation comes amid reports from the Washington Post of Russia increasingly harassing American diplomats in Moscow, killing their pets and defecating on their carpets.