The British Royal Air Force scrambled its Typhoons Feb 18. when two Russian Tu-95 bombers flew too close to the southern coast of the United Kingdom for comfort.
This event comes only weeks after another case when Typhoons had to escort Russian bombers out of the English Channel. Provocative Russian sorties have been flying close to the U.K. for a while now, and British officials are voicing their concerns.
Russian crew members caught this video of a NATO escort, which does not depict yesterday’s sortie, but is probably form late January.
News of the flight comes along with a warning from British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon who expressed his concerns over Russia’s actions Wednesday. “I’m worried about Putin,” Fallon told The Telegraph.
They are modernising their conventional forces, they are modernising their nuclear forces and they are testing Nato, so we need to respond.
In particular, Fallon warned that the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania face the brunt of Russian aggression.
I’m worried about [Putin’s] pressure on the Baltics, the way he is testing Nato, the submarines and aircraft.
The types of Russian sorties seen in recent months are reminiscent of old Cold War tactics used to prod and explore the airspace around other countries. In today’s context, such flights are increasing tension between NATO and Russia. As Fallon said, things are “warming up.”
In response to Fallon’s comments, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told Newsweek,
The comments of Mr Fallon of course are already beyond diplomatic ethics and the characterization of Russia is completely intolerable.
The European border with Russia is seeing all sorts of conflict these days. In addition to the conflict in Ukraine and tension in the Baltic states, the Islamic State is now trying to get into Turkey. A Turkish intelligence agency said that 3,000 IS militants are seeking to enter Turkey and intend to strike targets in Europe, according to Reuters.