In recent months and years, NATO, and specifically the US, have not only boosted their surveillance activities along Russia’s borders, but are also increasingly training for potential strikes on Russian soil, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said.
Shoigu spoke in an interview, aired on Russian TV on September 6th.
He said that a sharp increase in foreign surveillance and training flights testing the country’s borders and air defenses had been observed.
In August, such activities increased by some 30 percent compared to August 2019.
Moreover, the bloc’s aircraft have been actively training to conduct air strikes, routinely performing mock missile launches on targets within the country, Shoigu claimed.
“The most alarming is that if earlier – even though not that frequently – there were mainly reconnaissance aircraft, they’ve now begun regular training flights with large numbers of planes, during which the mock missile strikes are conducted.”
Over the last several weeks leading up to September 6th, there were several incidents when Russian fighter jets had to be lifted to intercept US and NATO aircraft encroaching near the borders.
On September 4th, most notably, 3 B-52H Stratofortress strategic bombers flew over Ukraine’s airspace, and along the borders of Crimea, as well as the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.
The bombers were intercepted by eight fighter jets and warned away from the border.
Another incident involving US strategic bombers occurred late in August, when a B-52H was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 fighter jet over the Baltic Sea.
In that situation, Denmark claimed that the Russian plane violated the country’s borders while chasing the US plane. Moscow denied the accusations.
On September 4th, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that a meeting of the heads of defense departments of the SCO, CIS and CSTO countries was the first in history, such large-scale events with international participation have not yet been held.
“Today’s meeting is the first meeting of this level in the history of our international contacts,” Shoigu said in his opening remarks.
The minister expressed confidence that international military cooperation will intensify after this meeting, and the results of the meeting “will become a solid basis for deepening interaction between defense departments.”
He also thanked his colleagues from the SCO, CIS and CSTO for the participation of the crews in the Victory Parade, which took place on June 24 in Moscow, and also noted the high level of their preparation.
Shoigu stressed that the place where the meeting is being held – the Patriot Park in Kubinka – was also not chosen by chance. Here, according to him, history and modernity are closely intertwined.
“The line of defense of Moscow passed here, where the Soviet troops stopped the enemy and achieved the first major successes at the front. From here began the movement of our troops to the West and the liberation of people from fascism,” the minister said.
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