Russian Jets Escort NATO Aircraft Away From Border For 2nd Time In Two Days
The situation between Russia and US and Western military aircraft over the Black Sea continues to be a tense one. There’s been a new incident with NATO aircraft on Thursday, coming less than 24 hours after Russia’s Foreign Ministry handed a “note of protest” to the US Embassy-Moscow, warning of “dangerous consequences” should any “provocations near Russia’s borders” ensue. The message appeared specifically geared toward tensions over Donbass in Ukraine.
A French Army statement described of Thursday’s incident: “Two French warplanes and a refuelling aircraft were being tracked on Thursday by two Russian fighter jets in international air space over the Black Sea, the second such interaction this week.”
It was the second consecutive day that Russian fighters were scrambled in order to “escort” French jets away from Russian airspace. “A Russian jet had already escorted two French warplanes on Wednesday, which Moscow had said aimed to prevent the French aircraft from entering Russian air space,” Reuters noted.
France’s military confirmed it was part of ongoing NATO observation missions, done in accord with international regulations. “The two (French) planes remotely detected two Russian fighter planes which have just come closer to them, but which are not disturbing or hindering the progress of the mission,” France’s Armed Forces Spokesman Colonel Pascal Ianni said.
Since last week the Kremlin has been angry over what it says is a pattern of unsafe US spy plane maneuvers over the Black Sea, which threaten civilian aviation. An Aeroflot fight from Israel to Moscow reportedly had to drastically reduce altitude when an American spy plane came too close without warning or proper communications.
“Increased U.S. and NATO warplanes activity near Russian borders creates risks of dangerous incidents for civilian aviation,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a written statement Sunday. “If this time a catastrophe over the Black sea was avoided, this doesn’t mean U.S. and NATO could risk people’s lives in the future without punishment,” Zakharova added.
Video of Thursday’s Black Sea “shadowing” of French warplanes was released by the Russian Defense Ministry. It appears the Russian jets were very close…
— Минобороны России (@mod_russia) December 8, 2021
Meanwhile, following the Tuesday Biden-Putin phone call, the US President hinted at plans for high level NATO meetings with Russia over the Ukraine crisis. However, the Kremlin says it knows of nothing firm. According to state agency TASS: “Russia knows no details concerning a meeting of Russia and NATO officials on Ukraine US President Joe Biden has announced, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told the media on Thursday.”
“I know nothing about any such meeting. I did see comments by the US president on this score. I proceed from the assumption that the formats for further talks on the ‘red lines’ our leadership was talking about for the past few days, and also maximally reliable legally binding security guarantees for Russia are subject to further discussion,” Ryabkov said. “At this point, nothing is decided. The US announcements that are made unilaterally do not create a new reality for us. They are just a reminder these issues should be dealt with tightly.”
Thu, 12/09/2021 – 14:39