The US RC-135U reconnaissance plane was flying towards the Russian border with its transponder switched off, a Defense Ministry spokesman said in Moscow Saturday.
Maj.-General Igor Konashenkov said that an unidentified airborne target was spotted over the Baltic Sea by Russian air defenders on April 7 flying directly towards the Russian border.
A Su-27 fighter jet was scrambled to inspect the target. Moving up to the unidentified aircraft the Russian pilot flew around it several times, made sure it was a US RC-135U reconnaissance plane and reported its tail number to ground control.“I want to emphasize that the RC-135U was moving towards the Russian border with its transponder switched off… As to the professional qualities of our pilots, this is something for the Russian military command to evaluate. Moreover, US reconnaissance planes are supposed to fly along US borders only and nowhere else,” Konashenkov said, adding that no “emergency situations” were registered during Tuesday’s mid-air encounter.
A Pentagon spokesman said on Saturday that a Russian Su-27 jet fighter on Tuesday flew dangerously close to and nearly collided with a US reconnaissance plane over the Baltic Sea.
The United States is building up its military presence closer to the Russian border in line with NATO eastward expansion plans.
WASHINGTON, November 25 (Sputnik) – A US heavy brigade combat team will be deployed in Poland, Romania, or a country in the Baltic region as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, Commander of US Army Europe Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges said on Monday.
“The idea is eventually to move a heavy brigade combat team with its tanks and Bradley [fighting] vehicles to an area further east, such as Poland, Romania, or one of the Baltic countries,” Hodges said via a video teleconference from Vilnius, Lithuania.
US Department of Defense and US State Department together with their NATO allies are now discussing the location, Hodges added.
“Soldiers of the 1st Cavalry Division and later replacement units will rotate to locations in Eastern Europe through the end of next year as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, and those rotations could continue after next year and for the foreseeable future,” Hodges stressed.Hodges added that presence of US military forces in Eastern Europe “will ensure a more rapid response, should aggression occur.”
US Operation Atlantic Resolve comprises all US efforts to support their NATO allies and partners in Europe.
US plans to boost its presence in Eastern Europe come as the NATO bloc has stepped up its military activities near the Russian border, including in the Black Sea and Baltic waters. In particular, the US-led alliance sent additional warships to the Black Sea and bolstered air patrolling missions over the Baltic states.Russia has criticized what it called “excessive” military presence on its western border, arguing it could tip the “balance of power” and lead to greater instability in the region.
NATO’s Trident Juncture exercise is held in Estonia in the period between November 9 and 17
US soldiers seen during NATO drill is the Baltic (archive)
MOSCOW, November 11. /TASS/. The course NATO member states have chosen will not make the situation in Europe safer, the head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s international military cooperation department, Sergey Koshelev, told reporters on Tuesday in comments on NATO plans to hold Trident Juncture exercise in Estonia. He also said the exercise is targeted against Russia.“The exercise scenario is aimed at drilling actions of staffs of various levels in the conditions of an attack of ‘a hostile major state’ on a member of the alliance.” Geographically, Estonia where the exercise is held, borders, except the Russian Federation, on ‘small friendly states.’ Therefore, the NATO exercise is targeted exclusively against Russia,” Koshelev said.
NATO’s Trident Juncture exercise is held in Estonia in the period between November 9 and 17.
MOSCOW, April 30 (RIA Novosti) – A newly formed Russian army helicopter brigade has begun training flights in the northwest of the country near the borders with the Baltic states of Estonia and Latvia, a spokesman for the Western Military District said Wednesday.
“Helicopters of the army aviation brigade of the Western Military District, based in the Pskov region, have begun regular training flights in the skies over northwestern Russia,” Col. Oleg Kochetkov said.
Kochetkov said the flights involve dozens of Mi-28N Night Hunter and Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopters as well as Mi-8MTV-5 and Mi-26T combat transport helicopters.
The 15th army aviation brigade, formed in December and stationed at the Ostrov airbase, is fully equipped with new, recently-built helicopters. The brigade currently comprises three helicopter squadrons, with two more to be added in the near future.
Media in the former Soviet Baltic states, as well as Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom, have expressed security concerns about Russia’s decision to station the 15th brigade near NATO’s borders.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu earlier announced the beginning of military drills of units from the Southern and Western military districts near the borders with Ukraine and the Baltic states in response to an “unprecedented” increase of NATO military activity near Russia amid the Ukrainian crisis.
The combat drills come as NATO is ramping up its military presence in the region.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced earlier this month that the alliance would intensify air patrols over Eastern Europe and dispatch extra ships to the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas due to the crisis in Ukraine.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that NATO was attempting to use the Ukrainian crisis as an imaginary threat to unite the alliance’s members and to push for Moscow’s isolation.