The air forces of the US-led NATO military bloc have not only boosted their surveillance activities along Russia’s borders, but are now also increasingly training for potential strikes on the country’s soil.
That’s according to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu. Speaking on national TV on Sunday, he noted a sharp uptick in foreign surveillance and training flights testing the country’s borders and air defenses. Last month, such activities increased by some 30 percent compared to August 2019.
Moreover, the bloc’s aircraft have been actively training to conduct air strikes, routinely performing mock missile launches on targets within the country, Shoigu revealed.
The most alarming thing is that if earlier – even though not that frequently – there were mainly reconnaissance aircraft, they’ve now begun regular training flights with large numbers of planes, during which mock missile strikes are conducted.
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Over the past few weeks, several incidents between Russian and NATO planes occurred in close proximity to the country’s borders. The latest took place on Friday, when three nuclear-capable US Air Force B-52H strategic bombers approached Russia’s border through Ukrainian airspace. The bombers were intercepted by eight fighter jets and warned away from the border.
Another incident involving US strategic bombers occurred late in August, when a B-52H was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 fighter jet over the Baltic Sea. The altercation prompted a wider international scandal, as another NATO country – Denmark – claimed the Russian aircraft violated the country’s borders while chasing the US plane. Moscow, however, has firmly denied the accusations, insisting that the interception was made in international airspace.
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