Russia warns US against close aircraft encounters

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The Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday complained to the United States Embassy in Moscow of “provocative actions” by the United States and NATO and warned of “dangerous consequences” amid the tensions linked to a Russian military build-up along the border with Ukraine.

In a statement, the spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, specified four incidents dating back to early October and involving close encounters between American or NATO planes and Russian civilian planes over the sea. Black.

“The US military and its NATO allies have gone from trying to test the strength of our border protection system to provocations against civilian planes, compromising [sic] airspace security and endanger human lives, ”said Zakharova, who went on to say that only“ the luck and quick-wittedness of Russian pilots and air traffic controllers ”prevented the tragedy.

The most recent incident took place on December 3 when a US Air Force CL-600 reconnaissance aircraft flew over the Black Sea and crossed a route “reserved for civilian aircraft,” Zakharova said, adding that the American crew had not responded to the Russian air force. traffic controllers.

Russia said an American reconnaissance plane had flown over the Black Sea and had entered a route “reserved for civilian planes.”
Fabrizio Gandolfo / SOPA Images /

In response, she continued, controllers “gave an order” to the pilots of an Aeroflot flight, who took steps to avoid a collision.

On the same day, the Russians said, a Maltese airliner “narrowly escaped” colliding with an Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance plane, which was escorted out of the area by military personnel. Russian military planes dispatched.

Two months earlier, on October 6, a Reaper drone – a type often used by the US, British and Italian military – nearly collided with a Russian plane over the Black Sea coast, Zakharova claimed. adding that the destruction had only been avoided by the Russian pilots “rapidly” changing course.

In this video capture provided by the press service of the Russian Defense Ministry and published on Thursday, March 7, 2019, a US intelligence aircraft is seen from the cockpit of a Russian fighter jet flying over the Baltic Sea in a video posted by the Russian Defense Ministry.  The Russian Defense Ministry said it sent a Su-27 fighter jet to escort the US RC-135 plane that was flying close to the Russian border, without giving any information on the date of the incident.
The Russian Defense Ministry said it sent a Su-27 fighter jet to escort the US RC-135 plane that was flying near the Russian border.
Russian Defense Ministry press service via AP

Seven days later, according to Moscow, an RC-135 flew “dangerously close” to an Azur Air airliner, which was reportedly forced to make a “steep descent” to avoid a collision.

“To reiterate, the unacceptable and dangerous activities of airplanes operated by NATO member countries, with American and NATO military planes flying without radio communication or flight plan and not having obtained air traffic control clearances. air traffic, pose serious risks to the safety of civilians. plane, which violates the basic principles of international air navigation… and other international laws, ”Zakharova said.

The ministry’s statement ended with a call for “a substantive dialogue on security guarantees and a discussion on ways to reduce military and political tensions and prevent dangerous incidents in the air and at sea.”

“Otherwise, all the means at our disposal will be used to prevent and neutralize [sic] emerging threats.

The warning comes the same week that US President Biden held a secure video meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid growing fears that Russian forces would attack Ukraine.

In this image provided by the White House, President Joe Biden speaks as he meets virtually via secure video conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin from the White House situation room in Washington on Tuesday, December 7, 2021.
President Biden speaks as he meets virtually via secure video conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin from the White House situation room on December 7, 2021.
Adam Schultz / The White House via AP

“I was very direct. There were no chewed words. It was polite, but I said it very clearly, ”Biden told reporters Wednesday. “If, in fact, he [Putin] invades Ukraine, there will be serious consequences, serious consequences. Economic consequences like he has never seen or seen before.

However, Biden has made it clear that the United States will not send American forces to Ukraine in the event of an invasion, as the former Soviet republic is not an ally of the United States.


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