RAF Intercepts Russian Bomber Planes Flying Near UK Airspace; NATO 'Worried' Of Crimea Military Buildup

By on
A Russian Tu-95 Bomber Or 'Bear'
IN PHOTO: A Russian officer takes a picture of a Tu-95 bomber at a military airbase in Engels, some 900 km (559 miles) south of Moscow, August 7, 2008. Picture taken August 7, 2008. Reuters/Stringer

Britain’s RAF Typhoon fighter jets were sent to escort two Russian military planes after they were detected heading towards UK airspace. The RAF jets were deployed from Lossiemouth after the Russian aircraft were spotted north of Scotland.

The Ministry of Defence revealed the interception and a spokesperson said the Russian military aircraft did not cross the UK sovereign airspace. The Russian jets were identified as Russian “Bear” strategic bombers and were not considered a “threat,” reports BBC.

The recent scrambling of British fighter jets is the latest in several similar incidents involving Russian military planes flying close to UK airspace. Previous reports said the RAF has got used to escorting Russian planes about once in a month. NATO has also noted an increase in the number of interceptions involving Russian military aircraft in the past year.

Russian officials have repeatedly denied they are violating the law and insisted that their planes are complying with international rules. In recent months, tensions between Russia and NATO countries have escalated due to Moscow’s role in the crisis in eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said at a defence conference in Turkey on May 14 that Russia may be using more force to change borders and “intimidate” neighbouring countries. “We will ensure that the strategies we are developing are complementary, so that we can work together quickly and effectively in the case of a hybrid threat against any of our members,” said Stoltenberg.

U.S. troops continue to train Ukrainian security forces to prepare them for the fight against Russian-backed separatists. The sounds of gunfire and explosions have become constant at the International Peacekeeping and Security Centre outside Yavoriv in western Ukraine

NATO has expressed alarm over Russia’s military buildup in Crimea as well as talks of Moscow planning to install nuclear weapons in the area. According to a statement issued by NATO’s top officials, “we do not and will not” recognise Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

“We condemn Russia’s ongoing and wide-ranging military build-up in Crimea and are concerned by Russia’s efforts and stated plans for a further military build up in the Black Sea region,” said the statement. Defence News reports that in March, Russian foreign ministry official Mikhall Ulyanov said he did not rule out Moscow placing nuclear weapons in Crimea. 

(To report problems or leave feedback on this article, contact: r.su@ibtimes.com.au)

Join the Discussion