The Russian Defense Ministry’s National Center for Defense Management has said that Russian Air Force’s Su-27 intercepted several French attack aircraft approaching the Russian airspace over the Black Sea on Monday.
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The centre said in a statement that the crew of the Russian fighter identified the air targets as two Mirage-2000 fighter-bombers of the French Air Force, after which they escorted them over the Black Sea.
Moscow has noted that there has been an increase in the activities of NATO aircraft as they have been flying more frequently near the Russian border for over a month. Russia has warned NATO members that such regular flights near Russian territory could result in accidents.
The Russian defence ministry had revealed that on Monday, another Su-27 had intercepted a German patrol aircraft and a US spy plane over the Baltic Sea.
The jets may have been part of the agreement between NATO countries, wherein alliance countries undertake airspace protection in the specially designated areas for countries that do not have suitable aircraft for air patrols.
Earlier, the Russian Defence Ministry had revealed last week that Russian fighters had intercepted two strategic bombers of the US Air Force over the Bering Sea.
Earlier in October, Russian Defence Ministry’s National Defense Control Center had said that the country’s airspace control devices had intercepted a German patrol aircraft and a Swedish reconnaissance aircraft over the Baltic Sea.
Taking note of similar developments in September, the Russian military had accused the US and its allies of provoking tensions in the region.
Head of the Russian General Staff’s main operational department Col.-Gen. Sergei Rudskoi had alleged that the U.S. and other members of NATO have significantly increased the scope of their military activities in the region.
In September, Russian fighter jets had intercepted and escorted the U.S. and NATO bombers and reconnaissance planes on 27 occasions. Meanwhile, Russia has also claimed that NATO warships have been spending longer times in the Black Sea.
“The U.S. and its NATO allies will carry the full responsibility for a possible escalation of the situation in the region,” Sergei had said. He had pointed out that a series of flights were undertaken by the U.S. B-52 strategic bombers in August and September over the Black and the Azov Seas with an intention to simulate missile strikes at facilities in southern Russia.
Russia has alleged that the bombers flew as close as 11 kilometers (less than 7 miles) to the Russian border. When US flew three B-1 heavy bombers over the East Siberian Sea the same month, the US military had said that the exercises were meant to show the Air Force’s “ability to continually execute flying missions and sustain readiness in support of our Allies and partners.”
Russia’s ties with the NATO countries have deteriorated since its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014. The Russian military officer underlines during his address that the US and its NATO allies also have intensified their intelligence flights near Crimea, which he said increased by 40% compared to the last year.