Tensions in the skies appear to be increasing again, as the United States intercepts another fleet of Russian bombers, off the coast of Alaska. But while the US claims the flight was too close for comfort, Russia claims it went according to schedule…
The Russian Defense Ministry says this was a scheduled a flight and their bombers did not deviate from the flight plan that showed they intended to fly off the coast of Alaska and Siberia.
They released footage, which shows one of their four Tu-95 bombers on the mission. And it then shows the US F-22 fighter jets that shadowed their aircraft during part of the patrol. In response, Russian Air Force Commander Lt Gen. Sergei Kobylash said, “The crews of strategic missile-carrying bombers performed the mission flawlessly today. Su-35 and MiG-31 fighters provided support in the most complicated stages of the route. The air and ground radar posts exercised permanent control of the mission along the entire route.”
We saw a similar incident last week when Russia claimed it was on a scheduled flight over neutral waters—but the US moved to intercept that flight, claiming they were too close for comfort.
The US has maintained the claim that they were justified in sending fighter jets to intercept Russia’s bombers because of their proximity to Alaska’s coast.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, posted photos of the aircrafts and claimed it “successfully completed two intercepts of Russian bomber aircraft formations entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone.”
They went on to say, “The Russian military aircraft came within 32 nautical miles of Alaskan shores; however, remained in international airspace and at no time did they enter United States sovereign airspace.”
So, they are saying that even though they felt the Russian bombers were too close, it wasn’t close enough to warrant any kind of deadly action.
Former National Security Adviser John Bolton has made headlines this week for claiming Russian President Putin sees President Trump as someone he can play “like a fiddle,” but that’s the opposite of what we’ve seen.
Since Trump withdrew the US from the INF treaty last year, his administration has refused to commit to renewing the New START treaty, despite Russia’s offer to do so with no conditions before it expires in February. The US has instead pushed for a new treaty, which includes China. But waiting for those talks could put the last remaining nuclear treaty between the US and Russia in danger.
The US and Russia have also clashed over involvement in Syria, with Moscow calling out Washington for keeping troops in Syria even when they weren’t invited and openly stealing Syria’s natural resources. The Trump Administration just announced a new round of sanctions against top Syrian officials, so we could see the US attempt to increase its interference in the country again, which would then up the tensions between the US and Russia.