Moscow is flexing its muscles and baring its teeth at the West from the skies again. Not far from Europe, in its western provinces, Russia is conducting a series of high-profile, intentionally provocative air combat drills, IHS Jane’s reports:
Russia is staging a series of major aerial exercises near Europe as tensions with the West continue to escalate over the crisis in Ukraine, state media has announced.More than 50 combat aircraft of various types are taking part in the live-fire exercises in the western military district of Russia, the Sputnik news agency reported.The exercises, which began on 17 February, will involve Sukhoi Su-34 ‘Fullback’, MiG-29SMT ‘Fulcrum’, MiG-31BM ‘Foxhound’, and various Sukhoi Su-27 ‘Flanker’-series combat aircraft.According to the reports, the exercises will culminate with the Ladoga-2015 exercise over Lake Ladoga, east of the city of St Petersburg.
On the other side of Europe, Russian jets are causing even more serous problems. The BBC reports:
RAF jets were scrambled on Wednesday after two Russian military aircraft were seen off the Cornwall coast, the Ministry of Defence has said.The Russian Bear bombers did not enter sovereign airspace, it said.On the same day, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon warned that Russia’s President Putin posed a “real and present danger” to three Baltic states.Prime Minister David Cameron said the Russian action should not be dignified with “too much of a response”. […]“I suspect the Russians were trying to make some sort of a point.”
These provocative shows of military strength are not the actions of a leader who is about to cave to the overwhelming pressure of a Western consensus against him.